The Tevatron ran its last beam today, marking the end of the 1 TeV (1 trillion electron volts) particle accelerator that discovered the top quark.

Fermilab streamed the last moments of the Tevatron, where they walked through the shutdown process at the main control room and their two detectors, CDF and DZero. To terminate the Tevatron, the team fabricated two big buttons, pushed by Helen Edwards, who led the effort to design and build the Tevatron. The first button dropped the beams of protons and anti-protons and another turned off the accelerator magnets.

It was a bittersweet event. While I didn’t work on the Tevatron, in high school, I spent two summers working at Fermilab — the start of my journey into becoming an engineer.

Even though the Tevatron just ran its last beam, that doesn’t mean that Fermilab is done. There are still other ways to probe in the realm of particle physics, and I’m sure they’ll stay at the forefront of this field.

Advertisements