This past summer saw the shutdown of the Tevatron, a particle accelerator located at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois. Guests at MSI have expressed some confusion about what Fermilab’s mission will be post-Tevatron. According to Fermilab's wesbite, their focus going forward falls into three groups of research.
The first is analyzing data from the Tevatron, the most high-energy particle accelerator/collider until the Large Hadron Collider came online. There's still a mountain of its data to review, so Fermi still has a small chance of “finding” the Higgs boson!
Their second focus is to repurpose the linear accelerator that fed the Tevatron, fashioning it into the particle physics equivalent of a shotgun. It will fire large numbers of neutrinos through the earth to study how neutrinos interact with matter.
Finally, they aim to discern the nature of dark matter and dark energy. This research tends to be passive in nature, as it requires setting up remarkably sensitive detection arrays far underground and waiting for data to analyze.
So fear not, Fermi fans! While they may have shelved their biggest toy, Fermilab is still a highly relevant and busy physics laboratory performing cutting-edge research. One does wonder if future tours of their facility will include a stroll alongside their slumbering Tevatron.
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