About Fermilab

What is Fermilab?

what is Fermilab main page  |  mission  |  history  |  Enrico Fermi

History - Timeline


The Midwestern Universities Research Association (MURA) is formed with the goal of designing a large accelerator.


MURA considers the conceptual design of a several-hundred GeV machine, including Robert R. Wilson's idea of cascading accelerators.

June 21, 1965:

Under contract from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), Universities Research Associates, Inc. (URA) incorporates to build and operate a new “truly national” accelerator laboratory.

December 16, 1966:

After considering more than 200 proposals, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission selects Weston, Illinois, 30 miles west of Chicago, as the site for the new laboratory.

March 1, 1967:

URA appoints Robert R. Wilson as Fermilab's first director.

June 15, 1967:

Operations begin at Oak Brook, Illinois.

November 21, 1967:

President Lyndon Johnson signs bill authorizing the National Accelerator Laboratory

September 1968:

A flag raising ceremony marks the move of operations from Oak Brook to “The Village” on site.

December 1, 1968:

Groundbreaking for Linac

October 3, 1969:

Groundbreaking for Main Ring

Spring 1971:

Groundbreaking for the Central Laboratory Building, later named Wilson Hall

March 1, 1972:

First 200 GeV proton beam passes through Main Ring.

December 14, 1972:

Main Ring energy doubled to 400 GeV.

January 1973:

Fermilab establishes superconducting magnet R&D program

April 5, 1973:

Construction workers pour the last bucket of concrete on top of what becomes Wilson Hall

October 10, 1973:

Robert R. Wilson receives the National Medal of Science

September 29, 1973:

15-foot liquid-hydrogen bubble chamber, world’s largest, operated for the first time

May 11, 1974:

NAL dedicated and renamed as Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

September 7, 1976:

The first cancer patient receives neutron therapy treatment using the Linac.

June 30, 1977:

Fermilab experimenters announce discovery of bottom quark.

October 19, 1978:

Leon Lederman appointed director.

November 15, 1978:

Decision is made to double the energy in the Main Ring, leading to the Energy Doubler.

July 5, 1979:

Department of Energy authorizes Fermilab to build superconducting accelerator, later named the Tevatron

February 9, 1980:

First stochastic cooling of a beam at Fermilab

September 18, 1980:

Central Laboratory Building renamed Wilson Hall

March 15, 1981:

Main Ring sets world record of 3E13 protons per pulse at 400 GeV

January 17, 1983:

Groundbreaking for the central building of the Industrial Building Center

March 18, 1983:
Installation of the last of 774 superconducting magnets for the Tevatron

July 3, 1983:

Tevatron accelerates protons to world record of 512 GeV

August 16, 1983:

Groundbreaking for Antiproton Source

October 1, 1983:

Start of the Tevatron fixed-target program at 400 GeV with five fixed-target experiments

February 16, 1984:

Acceleration of Tevatron beam to 800 GeV.

April 23, 1984:

Dedication of the Energy Doubler, also known as the Energy Saver and later named the Tevatron

December 1984:

Robert R. Wilson receives the Enrico Fermi award

September 6, 1985:

Antiproton Source produces and collects (“stacks”) first antiprotons

October 13, 1985:

First observation of proton-antiproton collisions by CDF collider detector at 1.6 TeV center-of-mass energy.

May 1986:

Tevatron named one of the Top Ten Engineering Achievements of the of the Last 100 Years by the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers

October 21, 1986:

Acceleration of Tevatron beam to 900 GeV.

November 30, 1986:

First proton-antiproton collisions at 1.8 TeV.

December 1986:

Stanley Livingston, former associate director of the laboratory, receives the Enrico Fermi award

October 19, 1988:

Leon Lederman is one of three recipients of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Physics.

December 2, 1988:

Dedication of the Feynman Computing Center

April 20, 1989:

John Peoples appointed director.

October 18, 1989:

Helen Edwards, Dick Lundy, Rich Orr and Alvin Tollestrup receive the National Medal of Technology for their work in building the Tevatron.

February 14, 1992:

DZero collider detector commissioned.

May 12, 1992:

DZero collider detector observes first proton-antiproton collisions

June 1992:

Leon Lederman receives the Enrico Fermi award

August 31, 1992:

Collider Run I begins

September 25, 1992:

Dedication of Lederman Science Education Center.

March 22, 1993:

Groundbreaking for Main Injector accelerator.

September 4, 1993:

New 400 MeV Linac commissioned.

September 27, 1993:

Tevatron’s cryogenic cooling system is named International Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

April 26, 1994:

Announcement of first direct evidence for top quark.

February 2, 1995:

Tevatron sets world record for number of high-energy proton-antiproton particle collisions.

March 3, 1995:

Experimenters of the CDF and DZero collaborations announce discovery of top quark.

February 20, 1996:

End of Collider Run I. The Tevatron has delivered 180 inverse picobarns to both CDF and DZero.

November 18, 1996:

Observation of antihydrogen atoms at Fermilab

August 5, 1997:

The Tevatron delivers a record intensity 800 GeV beam for fixed-target experiments: 2.86E13.

September 11, 1997:

Fermilab switches off Main Ring accelerator for dismantling

December 8, 1997:

U.S. and European officials sign an agreement for U.S. participation in the Large Hadron Collider

March 5, 1998:

Discovery of B-sub-c Meson, the last of the quark-antiquark pairs known to exist

June 8, 1998:

Sloan Digital Sky Survey achieves first light.

March 1, 1999:

Observation of direct CP violation in neutral Kaons (epsilon prime is nonzero)

March 5, 1999:

Michael Witherell named Fermilab's fourth director.

March 17, 1999:

Groundbreaking in Argentina for the southern hemisphere site of the Pierre Auger Observatory

June 1, 1999:

Dedication of the Main Injector accelerator

July 20, 1999:

Groundbreaking for the MINOS far detector in Soudan, Minnesota

January 16, 2000:

Former director Robert R. Wilson dies at age 85.

January 2000:

End of the Tevatron fixed-target program, which provided beam to 43 experiments

April 13, 2000:

SDSS observes the most distant object ever observed at red shift 5.8

May 31, 2000:

Groundbreaking for the NuMI project at Fermilab

July 20, 2000:

The DONuT experiment reports first evidence for the direct observation of the tau neutrino

March 1, 2001:

Start of Tevatron Collider Run 2 with proton-antiproton collisions at 2 TeV

November 7, 2001:

The NuTeV collaboration reports an unusually high value for sin^2 theta W of 0.2277

September 12, 2002:

MiniBooNE experiment begins taking data

August 14, 2003:

The MINOS far detector starts data taking with cosmic rays

November 12, 2003:

Launch of the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search at the Soudan Underground Laboratory

May 11, 2004:

Fermilab ships first LHC focusing magnet to CERN

July 16, 2004:

Tevatron achieves a peak luminosity of 1E32 cm -2sec -1.

October 7, 2004:

Fermilab Arts Series celebrates 30 th anniversary

December 6, 2004:

NIU launches Institute for Neutron Therapy at Fermilab

March 4, 2005:

Launch of the first neutrino beam from Fermilab to Minnesota

May 5, 2005:

Fermilab celebrates 25 years of Saturday Morning Physics

June 24, 2005:

Run 2 achieves one inverse femtobarn of integrated luminosity

July 1, 2005:

Pier Oddone becomes Fermilab’s fifth director

July 9, 2005:

First observation of electron cooling of antiprotons in the Recycler Ring

July 11, 2005:

Phase II starts for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

January 12, 2006:

SDSS-II reports the discovery of 139 new type 1a supernovae

February 10, 2006:

The Antiproton Source exceeds for the first time a stacking rate of 20 mA per hour

March 30, 2006:

MINOS presents its first measurement of delta m^2

April 21, 2006:

Proclamation of Illinois Particle Accelerator Day

September 9, 2006:

Tevatron achieves a peak luminosity of 2E32 cm-2sec-1

September 25, 2006:

Discovery of B_s matter-antimatter oscillations: 3 trillion times per second

October 23, 2006:

Discovery of Sigma-sub-b baryons (u-u-b and d-d-b)

January 7, 2007:

CDF announces the most precise measurement of the W boson mass by a single experiment

April 11, 2007:

MiniBooNE refutes LSND result and idea of fourth neutrino

June 2007:

Discovery of the cascade-b baryon (down-strange-bottom combination)

June 28, 2007:

SDSS II releases images of roughly 287 million celestial objects, including 197 type 1a supernovae

November 8, 2007:

Pierre Auger Observatory discovers non-uniform distribution of UHE

March 17, 2008:

The Tevatron achieves a peak luminosity in excess of 3E32 cm -2sec -1.

March 25, 2008:

The Tevatron delivers 50 inverse picobarns in a single week

July 30, 2008:

Observation of ZZ diboson production at the Tevatron

August 4, 2008:

Tevatron experiments start restricting the allowed Higgs mass range

September 10, 2008:

Pajama party at Fermilab to witness the first beam of the LHC from the ROC

September 10, 2008:

First beam for Large Hadron Collider

September 2008:

Both CDF and DZero reach five inverse femtobarns of luminosity

November 14, 2008:

Inauguration of the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina

March 9, 2009:

Discovery of single top quark production

March 11, 2009:

DZero announces the world’s best measurement of W boson mass

March 18, 2009:

Discovery of a new quark structure named Y(4140)

May 1, 2009:

Groundbreaking for the NOvA experiment in Ash River, Minnesota

June 29, 2009:

Discovery of the Omega-sub-b baryon

March 30, 2010:

First LHC collisions at 7 TeV

April 16, 2010:

Tevatron achieves a peak luminosity of 4E32 cm-2sec-1

September 21, 2010:

Fermilab breaks ground for expansion of test accelerator facility

June 24, 2011:

MINOS sees candidate events for muon neutrino to electron neutrino oscillation

July 2011:

Discovery of the Xi-sub-b, a heavy relative of the neutron

September 30, 2011:

Tevatron produces final proton-antiproton collisions; data analysis will continue for several years

December 16, 2011

Fermilab breaks ground for Illinois Accelerator Research Center

Jan. 23, 2012

Groundbreaking of Liquid-Argon Test Facility (Video)

February 15, 2012

Test beam facility exceeds 500 collaborators

March 2, 2012

Tevatron experiments announce world’s best measurement of W boson mass

March 7, 2012

First beam to SeaQuest experiment

March 29, 2012

Construction begins of MicroBooNE experiment

June 5, 2012

MINOS experiment announces world’s best measurement of key property of neutrinos

June 25, 2012

Construction begins of underground hall for NOvA near detector

July 2, 2012

Tevatron scientists announce their latest results on the Higgs particle

July 4, 2012

Search for Higgs boson at Large Hadron Collider reveals new particle

July 4, 2012

Hundreds of people gather at Fermilab to witness Higgs announcement at CERN

August 21, 2012

Fermilab retires iconic Cockcroft-Walton accelerator

August 24, 2012:

Pierre Auger measures particle cross section at 57 TeV

September 6, 2012

Crews complete first block of NOvA detector, North America’s most advanced neutrino experiment

September 17, 2012

World’s most powerful digital camera opens eye, records first images in hunt for dark energy

February 12, 2013

Release of 40-minute documentary: Fermilab: Science at Work

March 14, 2013

New evidence strengthens case that new particle is a Higgs boson

March 28, 2013

NOvA neutrino detector records first 3-D particle tracks

Back to History Main Page

last modified 04/08/2013   email Fermilab