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Tevatron Closing – Bummerinos

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Batavia – The Tevatron particle accelerator in Illinois will be closed down at the end of September 2011. The Tevatron construction was completed in 1983 and ran its first accelerated beam in July 1983.
On July 3, 1983 the first particle experiments began at the Fermilab near Batavia Illinois at what was dubbed the Tevatron for the speed at which it would accelerate protons and anti-protons. Accelerating the particles at energies up to 1 TeV around a 3.9 mile ring.
Unfortunately the Tevatron has been superseded in size by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland and its much larger 17 mile ring.
When discussing colliders, size does matter, and being the second largest collider is simply not enough to keep the Tevatron going in the current economic climate in the United States.
In a letter to Prof. Melvyn Shochet, Chairman of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel at the University of Chicago, W.F. Brinkman of the Department of Energy Office of Science closed the book on the High Energy Physics work of the Tevatron.
The director of Fermilab Pier Oddone in a newsletter suggests however, some collaboration will continue from Fermilab with the LHC in Geneva. (from Fermilab Today)
“…Fermilab is and will remain a very strong part of the LHC program and will continue to pursue physics at the high-energy frontier together with our collaborators at CERN.” (European Organization for Nuclear Research)
The closing of the Tevatron places at risk more than 100 jobs at Fermilab although some of the staff may be shifted to new projects. The Tevatron was to have been largely replaced by the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) but it also ran into the issue of funding after only fifteen miles of the proposed 54 miles of tunnel had been dug, when in October of 1993 a shortsighted US Congress (from Discover Magazine) and a less than enthusiastic President Bill Clinton eliminated the budget for the entire project.
Some of the major Tevatron discoveries included the Top Quark, B-Bbar oscillations, Xi baryon observations, and even earthquake detection in 2004 (Indian Ocean), 2005 (Sumatra), 2010 (Haiti and Chile) all of which were highly destructive earthquakes.
High energy particle physics will be a closed chapter in the United States when the Tevatron shuts down and it may never recover if allowed to occur. Those who consider science for the sake of science a waste of time would do well to consider the items in everyday use which were the result of science without a specific goal in mind. Or as is more often the case a completely unexpected result from a serendipitous occurrence.
Lets all consider that while popping our popcorn in what was the accidental discovery of the microwave oven by Percy Spencer at Raytheon Corp. while working on radar components.

Originally published on Digital Journal – Read more:


Written by Gar Swaffar

January 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Posted in Re-Thinking

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