For more than a thousand years, alchemists tried to make gold from other metals. Interestingly, science has just explained how gold was made. The explanation is more amazing than anything the alchemists dreamed.
After World War II, physicists developed proton accelerators to understand matter and forces on a subnuclear scale. Rival proposals to build a giant machine on the east or west coasts lost out to a proposal by Bob Wilson for a cheaper design at a new laboratory in the Midwest.