Today, the Tevatron accelerator at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory just outside Chicago has closed, ending its 28 years of smashing protons into antiprotons. The reasons for closing the 3.9 mile particle accelerator ring in Batavia, Illinois include budgetary constraints and its unfortunately obsolete status after the completion of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
The accelerator’s closing was celebrated by a live webcast of the shutdown and a lab-wide party. Lizzie Wade was there live to see the closing, and mourn the loss of America’s greatest particle smasher along with the scientists.
The Tevatron was the highest energy particle collider in the world until 2009, when the LHC became operational and broke the Tevatron’s 0.98 teravolt beam record with a new record of 1.18 TeV per beam. The LHC has since achieved a 3.5 TeV beam, creating a 7 TeV collision. But the Tevatron is credited with discovering the top quark, two types of sigma baryon, the “Cascade B” Xi Baryon, and the “doubly strange” Omega-sub-b particle, as well as embarking on the hunt for the elusive “God particle”, throughout its storied history. Join us in saying goodbye to this noble, incredibly powerful piece of machinery.