Monday, May 17, 2010

Fermilab, May 14, 2010

Fermilab is a large area north of Naperville.  Originally  is consisted of  farmland.  Even  farther back than that, Native Americans occupied the land.  When the U.S. Government dug trenches for the colliders, they unearthed a wealth of arrowheads and other artifacts.

Fermilab  is concerned with particle physics; the experiments involve  protons and anti-protons colliding at the  speed of light.  This is the method  that scientists used to discover the top quark in 1995.  Now, the scientists are probing dark matter.

There are buildings  for experiments, and there  is a very  tall  building for administration.  Lately they have added a building for  teachers and students. In front of the tall building there is a reflecting pool,  plus the flags of those nations which  have scientists  currently  doing research at Fermilab.  The day that we rode our bikes in Fermilab, there were  the flags of 20  different nations.

Because the area  was  once farmland,  there is  lots of room for a herd of bison. The mothers and calves were too  far out in the field  for me to get a good shot even  with the zoom.  However, two very impressive bulls were close to the fence.  In addition to the bison, the area  has a native grassland area which school children visit.  A nice bike  path traverses the  area .  We  saw houses, barns, a swimming pool, a picnic area,  and several fishing ponds.  For employees and guests there are  social activities.

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