President’s budget funds Fermilab research for fiscal 1997

Batavia, IL-Officials at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory responded today (March 19) to the announcement of the Clinton administration’s Congressional Budget Request for fiscal year 1997, beginning October 1, 1996. The detailed Budget Request, made public today in Washington, D.C., calls for a modest increase in total funding for high-energy physics research at Fermilab and other national laboratories and universities.

Initial budget information provided to Fermilab by the Department of Energy sets a figure of $52 million, the same level as in fiscal year 1996, for continuing construction of a new accelerator, the Main Injector, at the laboratory. Energy Department officials have advised Fermilab that the budget, if enacted, will also provide $205.58 million to cover the laboratory’s operating and equipment costs, up from $202.05 million in the current fiscal year.

“We are pleased that the Congressional Budget Request provides funding to keep construction on schedule for the Main Injector,” said Fermilab Director John Peoples Jr. “When the Main Injector begins operating in 1999, it will significantly enhance our laboratory’s research capability in particle physics.”

Peoples stressed the importance of stable federal funding to sustain a high-quality research program and to to keep the United States among world leaders in the particle physics research, which requires large-scale accelerators and particle detectors to probe the smallest dimensions of matter. “Stable funding from year to year allows us to make productive use of the nation’s investment in large scientific facilities like Fermilab, and to make the improvements that are required for new discoveries,” he said.

Fermilab, 30 miles west of Chicago, provides facilities for basic research in particle physics for approximately 2,600 physicists from 101 U.S. universities and laboratories in 36 states; and from 86 foreign institutions in 20 countries. Fermilab’s Tevatron, the world’s highest-energy particle accelerator, allows scientists to explore the fundamental structure of matter at the smallest scale. Scientists at Fermilab discovered two of the six quarks that are believed to be the fundamental building blocks of matter.

Universities Research Association, Inc., a consortium of research universities, operates Fermilab under a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Media contact