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The Tevatron was a giant Particle accelerator in Illinois that was used by scientists to make protons go very fast, almost the speed of light in some cases. Scientists looked at what happens when the protons hit antiprotons to see if they are right about their ideas as to what protons are made of.
The Tevatron was a circular particle accelerator at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (also known as Fermilab), just east of Batavia, Illinois. It was the second highest energy particle collider in the world after the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The Tevatron is a synchrotron that accelerates protons and antiprotons in a 6.28 km (3.90 miles) ring to energies of up to 1 TeV, hence its name. The Tevatron was completed in 1983 at a cost of $120 million ($257 million today) and has been regularly upgraded since then. (The 'Energy Doubler', as it was known then, produced its first accelerated beam — 512 GeV — on July 3, 1983.) The Main Injector was the most substantial addition, built over five years from 1994 at a cost of $290 million.
The Large Hadron Collider was later built in Switzerland to look for one of those pieces, called the Higgs Boson. The LHC broke and is now being fixed. The Tevatron scientists also tried to find the Higgs Boson. They need to do this before the LHC is fixed, because the LHC is much better at finding things.
The scientists at the Tevatron had a year's headstart on the scientists at the LHC. Whoever finds the Higgs will be honored by other scientists. That is why the scientists at the Tevatron wanted to find it before the scientists at the LHC.
The Tevatron discovered three of the 17 fundamental particles including the top quark. The Tevatron was shut down on September 30, 2011. The main ring of the Tevatron will probably be reused in future experiments, and its components may be transferred to other particle accelerators.
- R. R. Wilson (1978), The Tevatron, Fermilab, FERMILAB-TM-0763, http://lss.fnal.gov/archive/test-tm/0000/fermilab-tm-0763.shtml
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- FermNews - 20th anniversary issue
- Vastag, Brian (September 30, 2011). "Era of big science ends as Tevatron atom smasher shuts down". Washington Post: p. A14.