In a brightly lit clean room at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, engineers are building a car-sized digital camera for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. When it’s ready, LSST will image almost all of the sky visible from its vantage point on a Chilean mountain, Cerro Pachón, every few nights for a decade to make an astronomical movie of unprecedented proportions. Building the LSST means solving extraordinary technological challenges.

A pair of 1964 films detailing the construction of Stanford Linear Accelerator Center were recently remastered and are now available for viewing on YouTube. The films provide a fascinating look back at the origins of SLAC and the history of particle physics in the United States. At the time of the production, SLAC was the largest civilian basic science project ever undertaken in the United States.

The building boom

These international projects, selected during the process to plan the future of U.S. particle physics, are all set to come online within the next 10 years.

A specialized measuring machine at SLAC is helping scientists build precise detectors for the ATLAS experiment.

Some scientists spend decades trying to catch a glimpse of a rare process. But with good experimental design and a lot of luck, they often need only a handful of signals to make a discovery.