Fermilab's particle accelerator known as the Tevatron, a 4.26-mile underground loop that had been the leading facility of its kind in the world, will close Sept. 30, the lab near Batavia said today.
Closing the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory's Tevatron, which accelerates protons so scientists can study the collisions, had been expected in large part because of the construction of the more powerful Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile loop on the Swiss-French border. Work on the LHC started in the late 1990s, and the facility started functioning in September 2008.
Fermilab had begun shifting its focus to other projects, lab spokesman Kurt Riesselmann said. Those efforts center on the "High Intensity Frontier," the trillions of particle collisions Fermi creates every year, which outnumber those performed at the LHC, where the focus is on fewer but more intense collisions at higher speeds.
Fermilab had funding to operate the Tevatron through September but sought $100 million from the federal government to keep the accelerator running, Riesselmann said.
The Department of Energy on Monday notified Fermilab's director, Pier Oddone, that it had rejected the lab's request for extending the life of the Tevatron.
"The present budgetary climate did not permit DOE to secure the additional funds needed to run the Tevatron for three more years," Oddone said in a prepared statement Monday. "While we would have liked to run the Tevatron for three more years, our life going forward is full of promising projects and great opportunities for major discoveries."
Riesselmann said that "overall, we hope to reassign people and keep everybody on staff" after the Tevatron closes.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times