Archive for November 2008

Latest news….

November 17, 2008

The lecture at Fermilab on Friday night was fantastic! A large crowd turned out on a rainy night for my lecture and they all had nice comments afterwards. The book sales were a success and signing the books for those who stood in line was a pleasure. People especially enjoyed seeing the old films of Fermilab past, shown before the lecture, and the slide show of Fermilab present, shown at the end.

In answer to the question about other labs doing the kind of research that Fermilab does, John Peoples, Fermilab’s third Director and former Chairman of ICFA, informed me Friday evening that there are two other high energy physics labs like Fermilab: KEK in Japan, and CERN in Geneva, SW.

I hope people will send comments about the lecture and the book to this blog or to my email and I will transfer them to the blog for others to view.


Happy Day!

November 6, 2008

Last night, Nov. 5, I gave a presentation on the new book at The Newberry Library in Chicago. It was a great feeling to see so many people turn up for my talk after all the celebrations of the past 24 hours — Barack Obama was elected Tuesday and the world is celebrating!!

My talk went well and we sold some books! I signed my first book! How fun is that? Thanks to all who came out. I hope they will come to visit Fermilab soon to see the Lab for themselves.

The Book is Here!

November 6, 2008

How exciting! The new book arrived on Saturday and, after all the years we three spent writing it, it was fantastic to see it in print! I hope readers will enjoy the book and send in their comments to this blog.

Tuesday, Nov. 4,  the Visual Media Services office prepared bookmarks with information about the book to hand out at the Sigma Pi Sigma Congress that will be hosted by Fermilab tomorrow. The book will be available for sale, with proceeds going to the Fermilab Education Center.

Welcome to the new Blog!

November 6, 2008

Jean Reising has been creating our new website, including this blog and we want to thank Jean!

This blog is the place to send your comments, corrections and additions to the book, and will make our Fermilab history even better and more complete.

The LHC and the SSC

November 4, 2008

We should all celebrate the first beam in the LHC. This event indeed marks a new era of scientific discovery. At the same time many of us may look back wistfully at what might have been.

In May of 1982, Leon Lederman assembled a small group of people in a small office on the second floor of the High Rise. First beam in the Tevatron was still a year away. While the Tevatron was a daring first use of superconducting magnets in a large accelerator, those of us around the table that day had no doubt that it would be successful. Bob Wilson and Dick Lundy were there. (I was there as Lundy’s deputy at the Technical Support Section where the Tevatron magnets were being built.)

Leon had big plans on his mind. He asked us to think about how we would design a really big machine that would make bold leap to a new physics frontier. We now knew how to build the magnets. We just needed to scale up the Tevatron by a factor of ten. The next month at Snowmass, Leon revealed his dream to the community. I remember these as heady, exciting times. We worked obsessively, day and night, during those weeks at Snowmass, turning Leon’s dream into something that could actually be built. As the same time, huge new detectors were being designed for the energies and luminosities envisaged for this marvelous machine.

For the next 11 years we worked hard to realize the SSC. Using the Tevatron experience, we designed better, cheaper magnets. A site was selected, tunnels started, concrete poured, and magnets tested. We made countless trips back and forth to Berkeley, home of the SSC Central Design Group, and to Waxahachie.

Then…in October of 1993 it all came crashing down. Congress voted to terminate the project. The future of US leadership in high energy physics lay in the wreckage of the SSC.

The success of the LHC is a great victory for science. Although I am happy for the LHC, I am also sad about what might have been.

–Paul Mantsch

Paul Mantsch is project manager for the Pierre Auger Observatory.

Congratulations to CERN

November 4, 2008

Congratulations to CERN for the successful launch of the LHC, the Large Hadron Collider, the latest excursion into the frontier of high energy particle physics!


For more than 25 years the energy frontier machine has been Fermilab’s Tevatron, the 1983 superconducting extension of the 1972 Main Ring. Now the LHC will be the machine at the energy frontier. The LHC will enable high energy physicists from around the world to explore deeper into the unknown frontiers of the universe. While the times and technology are vastly different in 2008, much of the same excitement and drama of the turn on of CERN’s LHC was felt by physicists at the turn on of Fermilab’s  Main Ring (see and the superconducting Energy Doubler/Saver (see, now called the Tevatron (see Although the dress styles are different the spirit remains the same as the frontier beckons!