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Robin Erbacher | USLHC | USA

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Expecting the end, but still producing!

Sitting in the CDF collaboration meeting, discussing new and exciting results, while awaiting the end of the Tevatron in only a few hours...

Hello from Fermilab!

Today is a bittersweet day. As you have read in several posts here on the US LHC blog in Quantum Diaries, most recently from Kathy Copic, Michael Schmitt, and Ken Bloom, the Fermilab Tevatron, which for decades held the title of the “Highest Energy Accelerator in the World” (until the LHC began operations in 2009 of course), is ending its historic 28 year run.

This news has also made it into the popular press, such as the BBC, the Chicago Tribune (which discusses the future of Fermilab in brief as well) and the Washington Post, amongst many other publications and blogs.

Milestones?  Yes, there were many!  And while many of us are now working on the CMS and Atlas experiments in particular at the LHC, those of us who also remain on the Tevatron experiments (CDF and D0) are still working and producing results, and we are excited about the measurements we will publish with the final Tevatron datasets.

Robert Craig Group outlines plans for CDF's "final word" on the global search for the Higgs Boson.

Both D0 and CDF are holding collaboration meetings this week ahead of today’s shutdown.  Many current and former collaborators at our two experiments have traveled here from all over the world, even from CERN, to honor the end of an era of tremendous physics productivity and groundbreaking science here in the Chicago suburbs.

I am sitting here in the CDF collaboration meeting, discussing current and future physics results from CDF with my colleagues, while also discussing such topics as future data preservation (so we can access the data to study in the future as needed), and future tours of CDF and its detector as part of Fermilab’s proud legacy.  It is a pretty surreal feeling, to be pushing for exciting results in the next year while discussing the laying-to-rest of a beloved experiment.

Meanwhile, some of our former CDF colleagues, many of whom are now stationed part-time or full-time at CERN, are feeling wistful as well.  They have gathered together as many of our former ranks as they could find in a short period, and sent a send-off photo from all of them at CERN.

Former CDF colleagues gather at CERN for a farewell photo, sending best wishes as the Tevatron prepare to end operations today. (Photo courtesy of Michael Hoch)

One of my colleagues at CMS, Petra Merkel, who I used to work closely with here at CDF, sent the following thoughts along with the above photo:

“I must say that for most of us CDF has always played a special role, even if we have moved on to other experiments. But still now we frequently dwell upon the font memories we all have of our time at Fermilab, and of the very special atmosphere, which was present in CDF! Good luck to all of you, enjoy the party, and hope to see you soon, maybe at CERN.”

We will begin the shutdown ceremony today at 1:45, Chicago daylight time.  If you want to tune in to live video, the link is here. The schedule of events is exciting, but ceremonial compared to the feelings we all have on this day.

At CDF we will gather for a photo, then watch together the shutdown of the Tevatron in the CDF control room by video.  This will be followed by a champagne toast, and some testimonials from those who were around “in the beginning”.  Then CDF, D0, the Accelerator Division, and the whole lab plan to gather in the Fermilab Wilson Hall atrium to celebrate the end of the Tevatron era.  Both CDF and D0 plan further collaboration festivities into the evening, including an appearance by the CDF band.

To the end of an era and the beginning of a new one:  Here’s to continued exciting results from the Tevatron, and the wonderful results to come in the new LHC era…. Cheers!