FERMILAB: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Students' Views


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Fermilab Today
by Steven

Fermilab is located on 6,800 acres of land. This laboratory is west of Chicago. The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory stretches across five miles of east Batavia, Illinois.

The main instrument at Fermilab is a proton accelerator, or Tevatron. This is the world's largest accelerator. The accelerator is like a giant microscope that enlarges tiny particles that are too small to see through a microscope. The accelerator spins the particles around and around in a circular underground tunnel that is four miles in circumference. The beam of protons which is traveling at nearly the speed of light is either directed at a fixed target or a beam of anti-protons. Scientists study the patterns of the collisions.

Fermilab's staff of 2,100 people builds, maintains, and operates this laboratory for these experiments. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) pays for the operation of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Scientists come from all over the world to work at Fermilab.

Fermilab's 16 story twin tower was named after the first director of the laboratory, Robert Rathbun Wilson, a physicist and artist/sculptor who designed the building. Wilson Hall, known as the Highrise, houses small research laboratories, offices, and the administrative headquarters of the laboratory.