Join us in celebrating science as Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory turns 50 years old. This set of five printable posters highlights five physics experiments, past and present, and one amazing lab. Take a scientific journey through a slice of Fermilab’s history.
Fermilab: Where even the bison do physics.
On June 15, 1967, the first employees showed up to work for the National Accelerator Laboratory, later renamed Fermilab. Soon the high-rise bloomed tall above the prairie, and a herd of bison representing the frontier of physics roamed, to the delight of employees and visitors. Since its birth, scientists at Fermilab have discovered three fundamental particles: the top quark, the bottom quark and the tau neutrino.
Science: It’s magnetic.
Magnets – how do they work? Scientists and engineers at Fermilab know exactly how, and magnets are at the heart of many experiments and Fermilab’s current accelerator complex. More than 1,000 magnets made up the Tevatron (the left half of this drawing), the most powerful particle accelerator in the world for almost three decades. A 50-foot magnet, painstakingly moved in a 3,200-mile journey, is the core of the Muon g-2 experiment (right half). Fermilab also focuses on research and development to improve magnets – as well as storage rings, cavities and other components that blast particles to close to the speed of light.
Join the Dark Energy Survey
Tired of mundane, terrestrial issues? Look to the sky with the Dark Energy Survey as they peer deep into space. A 570-megapixel camera, designed and built at Fermilab, now sits atop a telescope high in the Chilean mountains. Surveyors look out into the cosmos to try to understand mysterious dark energy, a phenomenon that is accelerating the expansion of our universe. Where will that expansion – and this search – take us? Only time will tell.
Bubble chambers: where dreams bubble up! Or at least tiny particles called neutrinos do. Scientists at Fermilab used the 15-foot bubble chamber (the biggest in the world at the time) to record tracks left by the tricky particles, which rarely interact with anything. Times have changed, and scientists now use different kinds of detectors to better understand neutrinos. The biggest upcoming thing in neutrino physics? The international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment will shoot a beam of neutrinos from Fermilab to detectors one mile underground in South Dakota.
Visit CMS: Catch the Higgs boson
See the luminous LHC at CERN! Who needs a vacation when you can virtually visit the biggest collider (and some of its enormous detectors) from the comfort of your own home? Take this tour of the Compact Muon Solenoid detector, one of two detectors used to discover a missing piece of the physics puzzle: the Higgs boson. Fermilab is the U.S. hub for CMS experimenters and helped design and build the CMS detector and some of the magnets that power the LHC. With future upgrades planned for both the Large Hadron Collider and the CMS experiment, who knows what science surprises yet await!