Fermilab shuts down the Tevtron

After 28 years of smashing particles, Fermilab shut down the Tevatron last Friday. To commemorate this, I recommend you do three things:

1. Google Fermilab and look at it on Google maps. You can see the big circle right next to it. That gives you some idea of the scale.

2. Watch this excellent video, where a scientist and artist tracked themselves via GPS riding bikes around the main ring of the Tevatron. It's cool.

3. Read this excellent quote which brings a tear to my eye because of its simple truth. Over three decades ago, the first director of Fermilab, when questioned in Congress about whether the proposed accelerator would be good for national defense or for what, Robert Rathburn Wilson replied:

"It has only to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of man, our love of culture. It has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending."

Wow. I got goosebumps typing it. Right on, Dr. Wilson.

(source for #3: this article. Look especially near the bottom, with the paragraph that starts, "All good accelerators...")

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