From Academic Kids

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Robert Rathbun Wilson Hall

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located in Batavia near Chicago, Illinois is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics, operated for the Department of Energy by the Universities Research Association (http://www.ura-hq.org/) (URA). URA is a consortium of 90 leading research oriented universities primarily in the United States, with members also in Canada, Japan, and Italy. Founded in 1967 as the National Accelerator Laboratory, it was renamed in honor of Enrico Fermi in 1974. Fermilab's Tevatron is a landmark particle accelerator; in fact, at four miles in circumference, it is the world's highest energy particle accelerator. In 1995, both the CDF and D0 (detectors which utilize the Tevatron) experiments announced the discovery of the top quark. In addition to high energy collider physics, Fermilab is also host to a number of smaller fixed target experiments and neutrino experiments, such as MiniBooNE (the Mini Booster Neutrino Experiment) and the NuMI (Neutrinos at the Main Injector)/MINOS (Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search) experiment. The MiniBooNE detector is a 40-foot (12-meter) diameter sphere which contains 800 tons of mineral oil lined with 1520 individual phototube detectors. An estimated 1 million neutrino events are recorded each year. The NuMI/MINOS experiment uses a particle accelerator at Fermilab to produce an intense beam of neutrinos that travels 450 miles through the Earth to the Soudan mine in Minnesota.

In the public realm, Fermilab is host to many cultural events (http://www.fnal.gov/culture/culture.shtml), not only public science lectures and symposiums, but classical and contemporary music concerts and arts galleries, when the Homeland Security Advisory System permits. Currently the site is open to all visitors from dawn to dusk who present valid photo identification.

The lab's first director was Robert Rathbun Wilson (http://history.fnal.gov/wilson.html), a gifted physicist and artist. Many of the unique sculptures on the site are of his creation. It was in great part due to his brilliance and shrewd planning that the facility was finished ahead of time and under budget. The unique shape of which has become the symbol for Fermilab, the high rise located on site (http://history.fnal.gov/highrise.html) is named in his honor, and is the center of activity on the campus.

After Dr. Wilson stepped down in 1978 to protest the lack of funding for the lab, Dr. Leon M. Lederman took on the job. It was under his guidance that the original accelerator was replaced with the Tevatron accelerator, an accelerator capable of colliding a proton and an antiproton at a combined energy of 2 TeV. Dr. Lederman stepped down in 1988 and remains Director Emeritus. The on-site science education center was named in his honor.

From 1988 to 1998, the lab was run by Dr. John Peoples (http://history.fnal.gov/peoples.html). From that time until June 30, 2005, the lab was run by Michael S. Witherell (http://www.fnal.gov/directorate/profiles/witherell.html). On November 19, 2004 Pier Oddone, formerely of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California, was announced as Fermilab's newest Director. Oddone will begin his term as director July 1, 2005.

A small herd of American bison (http://www-ed.fnal.gov/entry_exhibits/bison/bison_title.html), started at the lab's founding, lives on the grounds symbolizing Fermilab's presence on the frontier of physics and its connection to the American prairie.

Asteroid (11998) Fermilab is named in honor of the laboratory.

External links


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