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Jonathan Asaadi | Syracuse University | USA

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Fermilab: People, Places, and Spaces (Part I)

The weeks of research and shifts are winding fast and now that the Tevatron is back online the work is coming fast here at the lab. Constant updates from the Tevatron on Facebook let me know that we are quickly getting back to good running order.

Tevatron: The Tevatron delivered 27 pb^-1 over the previous Monday-Monday reporting week.

This number was especially interesting to me considering that a former graduate student of Texas A&M graduated with his thesis on only 570 pb^-1. Now obviously not all of this delivered data went to tape here at CDF, but it is still amazing that in a week we received this much luminosity after coming out of a 3+ month shutdown.

While I will have lots more to say about the fast pace world of proton-antiproton collisions in weeks to come I wanted to take a moment and blog about some of the thoughts I have about this wonderful lab we call Fermilab.

It occurs to me that I will never have a grasp on the shear number of people that this lab has impacted over the course of its life. Many people with more to give and more to know have walked the same grounds that I tread upon everyday. Through their contributions and work I now have this wonderful home and experiment to live out the beginnings of my career on. While I may never know most of those who came before me, we do share something in common; The People, The Places, and the Spaces here at Fermilab. So I thought I would do a continuing series writing about these things so that those who have seen it once can share their experience and those who haven’t can see some of the sights and people that I get to interact with everyday.

Wilson Hall


Let’s face it…this is the structure that most people think of when they think of Fermilab. Rising out of the prairie lands it can be seen from well outside of the lab. This 15 story high rise is by far the tallest structure on the lab and arguably one of the most architecturally beautiful. At a lab where things are built for function and with a budget in mind, this building stands as a beautiful white spire in that beckons all to gather near. (I might be getting too poetic for my own good…but really it is a beautiful builiding)

As you enter this structure you assume that this is where all the magic must happen. The tall atrium and wonderful light that is let in by these enormous panes of glass lead you to believe that you have walked into the cathedral of knowledge for all the sciences. Interestingly enough, this place serves more as an office building and a gathering place then it does as the beating heart for the lab itself. Don’t get me wrong…you come there around lunch time and wonder between tables and you will hear the discussions of the most brilliant people discussing the most difficult aspects of particle physics…but not all of them call this building their home.wilsonhall3

This building serves as a center for operations for Fermilab’s contribution to the experiment in Europe (CERN) and the experiment CMS. The remote operations center can be found on the first floor and the Large Hadron Collider  Physics Center (LPC) is located on the 10th and 11th floor.

Much of the rest of the first floor is dedicated to a visual representation of what we do at Fermilab…but the real exhibition can be found on the 15th floor. Complete with scale model of the lab and reconstruction of the Tevatron tunnel, this is where the tours go to get a grasp on the world of particle physics. However, sometimes I like to wonder up here too…just as a reminder of how amazing the big picture of what we do is.

I don’t pretend to know or say that I will ever know what all the floors and offices in this building are filled with. People and places exist here that I have not encountered or lack the space in this one blog to talk about. But one thing is clear, as the symbol and center of the activities of the lab…you don’t know Fermilab if you don’t know Wilson Hall. Cruising through the halls here will help you get the sense of how big what we do at Fermilab is, and you can rest knowing that the sense of awe that this building fills you with has been felt by those who came before you