US Closes Major Atom Smasher

Washington, Oct 1 (IANS): The Tevatron, a 25-year-old atom smasher in Batavia, Illinois, was shut down for the last time Friday, Xinhua reported.

The closure, which marks the end of a quarter-century of US dominance in high-energy particle physics, was attributed to the US energy department's decision not to spend $35 million needed to extend its operation through 2014.

Tevatron was run by the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Helen Edwards, the lead scientist for the construction of the Tevatron in the 1980s, terminated the final store in the Tevatron, which uses magnets cooled to minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit to push the particles at nearly the speed of light.

It has made major contributions to physics, including the discovery of three of the 17 particles thought fundamental to the universe.

And in 1995, it achieved its biggest success, finding a subatomic particle called the top quark, the last of six fundamental building blocks of matter to be discovered, Xinhua said quoting the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

Physicists at the US lab will turn to conduct a smaller and more focused project to study the universe in a new way. The new venture, called Project X, could cost up to $2 billion, but it has no funding yet.


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Title: US Closes Major Atom Smasher

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