Turning Off the Tevatron

Back in the Eighties Bill Higgins — aka Beam Jockey, who works at Fermilab as a radiation safety physicist — helped build the Tevatron, the premiere particle accelerator of its generation. And Bill was there on September 30 when the Tevatron was retired.

Bill is interviewed in BoingBoing’s report about the event:

Ultimately, the Tevatron was simply the victim of the progress of technology. When it opened in 1983, it replaced older, lower-energy accelerators. And, in turn, the Tevatron has been replaced by the Large Hadron Collider, an accelerator capable of pushing particles to even higher energies. Once that happened, it was only a matter of time before the Tevatron felt the budgetary axe….

Bill Higgins: Wistful is a good word to describe the way I felt, as I witnessed the shutdown ceremonies, and joined the crowd at the party—think of it as a wake—afterward…. Right now I work on shielding analysis to support future operation of Fermilab’s multiple accelerators. Over thirty years ago, I was assigned to work on the testing of Tevaron magnets as they came down the production line.

[Thanks to Bill Higgins for the story.]