On October 13, 1985 at Fermilab, the Tevatron produced protons and antiprotons collisions inside the CDF detector for the very first time. It was a magical day for the few dozen people in the accelerator and CDF control rooms. Since that day, literally billions of matter-antimatter collisions took place inside CDF and then inside CDF and DZero. What was once novel is now routine – and routine at an unprecedented scale. The intensity of the beams gradually multiplied, thanks to the relentless efforts of the Tevatron accelerator physicists.
Friday at 2 p.m., after nearly 26 years of operation, a switch will be turned, ending the career of one of the most remarkably successful colliders ever in particle physics. The Tevatron collider established a brand identity for Fermilab and changed the physics landscape forever.
This program allowed CDF to achieve numerous physics highlights, including the discovery of the top quark, the precision measurement of the W boson mass, the observation of Bs mixing and the many limits set on potential new physics theories. Many of these results appeared in this column.
More than 3,000 physicists contributed to this rich program at one point in their career. Five hundred and thirty two students have received their Ph.D. in this program thus far, and the experiment produced a steady flow of more than 550 publications (and counting) in refereed journals. Now with a full dataset of 10 inverse femtobarns under the hood, CDF scientists expect to produce another hundred or so papers in the coming years.
The success of a program like this goes well beyond just those scientists involved. Twenty six years of fruitful operation requires a commitment from everyone here at the laboratory. From the accelerator scientists, to the technical staffs, the people in the business systems and those that maintain the laboratory infrastructure – each of you played a role in this success story. What a run it’s been – we should all be very proud of what we, as a team, accomplished. On behalf of all the members of CDF: Thank you, Fermilab. We did it together, and we did it very well!