This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

Share this

Free weekly newswire

Sign up to receive all our latest news direct to your inbox.

Physics on film

100 Second Science Your scientific questions answered simply by specialists in less than 100 seconds.

Watch now

Bright Recruits

At all stages of your career – whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, researcher or industry professional – can help find the job for you.

Find your perfect job

Physics connect

Are you looking for a supplier? Physics Connect lists thousands of scientific companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and experts worldwide.

Start your search today


Visiting Fermilab

Fermilab's Wilson Hall.jpg
Fermilab’s Wilson Hall

By Margaret Harris

“I know it’s kind of a busman’s holiday for you, but do you want to visit Fermilab?”

The AAAS conference doesn’t officially kick off until tomorrow, so I was supposed to spend today de-jet-lagging myself while visiting my uncle west of Chicago. Now, a rainy February day in the Chicago suburbs is not everyone’s idea of great holiday material, but one of those suburbs happens to host the world’s biggest operational particle accelerator…and several of its scientists have prominent slots on the conference schedule…so…

Fermilab’s striking Wilson Hall atrium is open to the public from dawn to dusk most days, and you can hike in the surrounding prairies, too (just watch out for the resident bison herd — now down to 20 head due to budget cuts). But on Wednesday and Saturday mornings they also run guided tours, so my uncle and I joined the small group of curious local residents following science historian (and UK native – between that and the mist, I felt right at home) Yvonne Twomey around the linear accelerator building.

The ongoing Higgs boson hunt means that the Tevatron is nearly always running, so there’s a limit to what you can see at Fermilab on a public tour. But we poked our heads into the auditorium, peered through glass at the giant Cockcroft-Walton generator and the first few feet of the linear accelerator beam line, and learned a little about the great astrophysicist office-space takeover (they used to be confined to the third floor, but as the lab’s particle physics mission winds down, other sub-disciplines have picked up territory) before going back to the high-rise’s 15th floor to gaze out at the lab’s other buildings. And the mist. And the bison.

And, of course, to the distant skyline of Chicago proper, where I’ll be reporting on the conference from tomorrow on. Until then…

This entry was posted in AAAS Annual Meeting 2009. Bookmark the permalink.
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

Comments are closed.


  • Comments should be relevant to the article and not be used to promote your own work, products or services.
  • Please keep your comments brief (we recommend a maximum of 250 words).
  • We reserve the right to remove excessively long, inappropriate or offensive entries.

Show/hide formatting guidelines

Tag Description Example Output
<a> Hyperlink <a href="">google</a> google
<abbr> Abbreviation <abbr title="World Health Organisation" >WHO</abbr> WHO
<acronym> Acronym <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym> ASAP
<b> Bold <b>Some text</b> Some text
<blockquote> Quoted from another source <blockquote cite="">IOP</blockquote>
<cite> Cite <cite>Diagram 1</cite> Diagram 1
<del> Deleted text From this line<del datetime="2012-12-17"> this text was deleted</del> From this line this text was deleted
<em> Emphasized text In this line<em> this text was emphasised</em> In this line this text was emphasised
<i> Italic <i>Some text</i> Some text
<q> Quotation WWF goal is to build a future <q cite="">
where people live in harmony with nature and animals</q>
WWF goal is to build a future
where people live in harmony with nature and animals
<strike> Strike text <strike>Some text</strike> Some text
<strong> Stronger emphasis of text <strong>Some text</strong> Some text