Particle Physics in the News: Tevatron to Shut Down after 2011
posted by: Jamie Antonelli
The Fermilab Tevatron – the American counterpart to the CERN LHC – will not be running after 2011 as had been hoped. They requested additional funding to extend the running of the Tevatron for three extra years, but the word came down earlier this week that the US government would not be granting their request.
The scientists working at Fermilab are of two minds about this development. On one hand, it is unfortunate for the graduate students and other researchers who would have benefited from an extra three years of data being collected. But many are happy to see the funding agency make a decisive move in a new and possibly more productive direction. It’s not that the government is neglecting science, they’re just funneling their resources into areas of particle physics other than large, high energy colliders. Fermilab will now focus on developing higher particle beam intensities instead of higher energies. And there are several experiments working on things like neutrinos and dark matter that will receive more funding and manpower once the Tevatron shuts down.
For me, it will be interesting to see how this development affects research at the LHC. The Tevatron was its only real competition, and an extra three years would have put significant pressure on CERN to produce results quickly. Without that external motivation, the schedule for the LHC may become more relaxed, which is bad for me because my graduation is somewhat dependent on how fast the LHC can take enough data for me to write my thesis. So hurry up Mr. LHC! I’d like to finish school before I’m 40!