Fermilab celebrates 50th birthday in 2017


If it’s true that life begins at 50, Fermilab is just getting started.50-web-graphic-photo

Next year, the country’s premier particle physics laboratory celebrates 50 years of discovery and innovation. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy lab, was founded in 1967 under the direction of Robert Wilson and in the ensuing half-century has explored many of the most fascinating mysteries of the universe.

Along the way, scientists working at Fermilab discovered three of the elementary particles that make up our universe, photographed the farthest reaches of space to learn more about dark energy and recently received the Department of Energy’s approval to start construction of the largest physics experiment ever built on (and under) U.S. soil, the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

Today Fermilab launched a new website, 50.fnal.gov, with full details of its 50th anniversary celebrations. Highlights include:

  • Saturday, Jan. 21: A public kickoff party for our birthday year, featuring a reception in Wilson Hall at 7 p.m. and a concert by Chicago’s own rock ‘n’ roll marching band, Mucca Pazza. Tickets are on sale now.
  • Friday, Jan. 27: Fermilab’s Greatest Hits, a lecture by longtime Fermilab scientist Chris Quigg detailing some of the most important moments from the last 50 years. Tickets are available now.
  • Sunday, Feb. 12: The annual Family Open House in Fermilab’s Wilson Hall will celebrate the laboratory’s birthday with hands-on science activities for the entire family. This event is free! Watch our website for more information about registering for tours.
  • Thursday, June 15: The day Fermilab employees first reported to work will be commemorated with a social media celebration. Follow Fermilab on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information.
  • Saturday, Sept. 23: Fermilab’s big 50th anniversary open house will welcome the public to tour facilities at the lab that they would normally not get to see. The event will include a science and innovation fair and dozens of activities for families. This event is free as well!

That last event is particularly noteworthy. The open house will be the centerpiece of a slate of events at the lab and online that will look back on half a century of achievements and look forward to a bright future.

More events and activities, including pop-up science events in places around Chicagoland, will take place throughout the year. Watch 50.fnal.gov, where more information will be posted as it becomes available.

Fermilab is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research. A U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, Fermilab is located near Chicago, Illinois, and operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance, LLC. Visit Fermilab’s website at www.fnal.gov and follow us on Twitter at @Fermilab.

The DOE Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.