Alex Pasternack | 20 min | USA | 2011
The hunt for the Higgs boson, god particle or goddamn particle, the one that gives things mass, came closer to an end on July 4. Physicists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Europe, the world’s largest particle accelerator, found evidence of the particle and its energy field. But the LHC didn’t do it alone. The search has been a massive, costly and unprecedented international effort that began thousands of miles away, at another atom smasher beneath the Illinois prairie.
When the Tevatron opened in 1983 at Fermi National Laboratory, outside Chicago, it was the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, designed to smash protons and antiprotons together in order to see what makes up the universe. It was the dream of Robert Wilson, who grew up as a cowboy in Frontier, Wyoming, and who founded and designed the lab as an artistic symbol of the country’s thrust into the frontier of physics; epic buildings, sculptures, and buffalo were mainstays. And the Tevatron was the centerpiece.
Alex Pasternack is a journalist, filmmaker, and former Princeton-in-Asia fellow in Beijing, and the current editor of Motherboard, a “cutting edgy” science and technology culture site, where he also acts as supervising producer for their award-winning documentary series. He is passionate about the future of cities, and co-founded Weeels, the taxi-sharing app suite, and Starlab, the social transit research lab.