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Hundreds of scientists from across the nation gathered at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab to celebrate the construction of the world's biggest, brightest X-ray machine.

Called the Advanced Light Source, the device will let scientists peek inside living cells in greater detail than ever before.The new machine goes into action in a few months. But scientists are already planning trips to Berkeley to use the giant X-ray eye, which will help them design super-powerful computer chips and shatterproof plastics for windshields in future cars.

"This research will really shed light on things useful in everyday life," said Jay Marx, the physicist in charge of the six-year, $100 million effort to build what scientists call a synchrotron.