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The sights and sounds of Fermilab

Wilson Hall at sunset

By Margaret Harris

Last autumn I visited Fermilab to learn more about the US particle-physics lab’s plans for the future now that its flagship particle accelerator, the Tevatron, has closed for good.

You can read more about those plans in this article, but if you’d like a slightly more visual guide to how the lab is changing, I’ve put some photographs from my trip on Physics World‘s Flickr page.

I’m hardly a professional photographer, but it’s easy to take good photos in a place as beautiful as Fermilab, with its spacious Midwestern skies, iconic structures, and famous herd of American bison. But even if pretty pictures aren’t your thing, the photos also illustrate some of the changes going on at the lab, with the empty, slightly forlorn-looking CDF control room contrasting sharply with the buzz of activity in Fermilab’s neutrino-research areas.

In other Fermilab news, the Chicago-based composer Mason Bates apparently found the lab’s soundscape as inspiring as its landscape. Bates is the composer-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and last year he visited Fermilab to record material for a new composition called Alternative Energy. According to the website for the symphony, the piece blends ambient noises from the lab with percussion and orchestra, and it had its première on Thursday 2 February. You can watch a video of Bates making his recordings here.

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