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FERMILAB
Batavia, Il
Lat: 41°51'35.23"N Lon: 88°15'38.52"W
Fermilab. An hour south of Chicago = BIG, BIG SCIENCE. I am astonished and enriched (like uranium!) and, surprisingly, touched. To have been permitted to explore this MASSIVE science factory dedicated to pure and (who knows??) applied physics. A whole bunch of brilliant gals and guys in the middle of a big field are spending lots of tax dollars and science grants trying to figure out THE UNIVERSE—or at least a few particles of it. You may also be interested to know that this is going on every day in Illinois.

Let me break it down for you:

A super-accelerator that somehow collides protons and anti-protons and then watches what happens. Their greatest aspiration is to locate a missing piece of the STANDARD MODEL of mass. This is a particle called the Higgs-Boson and someday in our lifetimes it’s likely to be a big, Nobel Prize-winning headline and if they find it here they’ll be very glad and those tax dollars will keep flowing. But likely this achievement will be happening in Cern, Switzerland, now that its opened.

The other major project at Fermilab is called Numi and it involves sending a self-generated beam of neutrinos (another piece of the model) from this location right through the earth 468 miles away to a detector in a mine in Minnesota.

Don’t ask.

Yeah, the whole place is so much on another plane, a scale so grand you can’t really conceive it until you’re there underground touching the magnets and the beam chambers and seeing how exactly the operation is managed—it’s pretty wild and very, very impressive. I emerged wholly encouraged that some very capable souls are thinking this ”Who am I?” question through in a most determined way. So, if they can’t figure it out then that means I can pretty much just leave the entire matter well enough alone and get on with my life, right? Right.
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