Wednesday night, my friend Todd showed me the key he had made. On the fob was engraved the following text. "1983 TeV 2011". Today, at 2PM CDT, Helen Edwards, the lead scientist of the machine in 1983, will turn that key, and the Tevatron
will shut down forever.
The world's most powerful collider for over two decades, the Tevatron -- named after the energy goal, one trillion electron volts (TeV), was the first to observe the Top Quark
. An enormously complicated machine, with 774 superconducting magnets, it was originally designed for fixed target work, but made most of its discoveries as a collider, slamming 36 bunches of protons into 36 bunches of antiprotons.
Along with the Tevatron, the two detectors, CDF
, named as the Collider Detector at Fermilab, and D0
, named after the location on the Tevatron ring, and three other accelerators, the Antiproton Source's
two rings and the Antiproton Recycler
will also shut down.
Fermilab itself will continue with the years of data reduction from the CDF and D0 experiments. Along with that, as Fermilab moves from the high energy to the high intensity realm, neutrino research continues with the MINOS
, and upcoming NOvA
experiments, and the lab as a whole will move into a new realm -- muons -- with the Muon g-2
experiments leading to the next big experiment at Fermilab, Project X
In the penultimate Tevatron accelerator update, several people who've worked with the machine reminisce
about building, repairing, coddling, and trying to understand a machine that always ran on the edge of failure to push the boundaries of science.
The enormous R&D effort needed to build the Tevatron was critical in the design and construction of the machine that would finally exceed the luminosity and intensity of the Tevatron, the Large Hadron Collider
. Fermilab was a fundamental part of building the LHC -- although not always without mistakes
, but Fermilab's years of working with superconducting magnets was critical in building the much larger LHC, and one of the remote control centers of the LHC lives today at Wilson Hall
, amongst the prairie and the bison
that are as much a part of Fermilab as neutrinos, physicists, and temperamental machines.