From the Tevatron to Project X

In the October issue of the CERN Courier, Fermilab Director Pier Oddone will present the past, present and future of the US laboratory after the Tevatron. The Bulletin presents some early extracts from his article…


Fermilab Director, Pier Oddone.

The end of September marks the end of an era at Fermilab, with the shutdown of the Tevatron after 28 years of operation at the frontiers of particle physics. The Tevatron’s far-reaching legacy spans particle physics, accelerator science and industry. The collider established Fermilab as a world leader in particle physics research, a role that will be strengthened with a new set of facilities, programmes and projects in neutrino and rare-process physics, astroparticle physics, and accelerator and detector technologies.

The Tevatron exceeded every expectation ever set for it. This remarkable machine achieved luminosities with antiprotons once considered impossible, reaching more than 4x1032 cm-2s-1 instantaneous luminosity and delivering more than 11 fb-1 of data to the two collider experiments, CDF and D0. Such luminosity required the development of the world’s most intense, consistent source of antiprotons. The complex process of making, capturing, storing, cooling and colliding antiprotons stands as one of the great achievements of Fermilab’s accelerator team.

The life of the Tevatron is marked by historic discoveries that established the Standard Model. Tevatron experiments discovered the top quark, five B baryons and the Bc meson, and observed the first τ neutrino, direct CP violation in kaon decays, and single top production. The CDF and D0 experiments measured top quark and W boson masses and di-boson production cross-sections. Limits placed by CDF and D0 on many new phenomena and the Higgs boson guide searches elsewhere, and continuing analysis of Tevatron data may yet reveal evidence for processes beyond our current understanding.

As we bid farewell to the Tevatron, what’s next for Fermilab? Over the next decades, we will develop into the foremost laboratory for the study of neutrinos and rare processes – leading the world at the intensity frontier of particle physics.

The cornerstone for Fermilab’s leadership at the intensity frontier will be a multi-megawatt continuous-beam proton accelerator facility known as Project X. This unique facility is ideal for neutrino studies and rare-process experiments using beams of muons and kaons; it will also produce copious quantities of rare nuclear isotopes for the study of fundamental symmetries. Coupled to the existing Main Injector synchrotron, Project X will deliver megawatt beams to the Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment.

Project X’s rare-process physics programme is complementary to the LHC. If the LHC produces a host of new phenomena, Project X experiments will help elucidate the physics behind them. Different models postulated to explain the new phenomena will have different consequences for very rare processes that will be measured with high accuracy using Project X. If no new phenomena are discovered at the LHC, the study of rare transitions at Project X may show effects beyond the direct reach of particle colliders. Project X could also serve as a foundation for the world’s first neutrino factory, or – even farther in the future – as the front end of a muon collider.

In parallel with the development of its intensity frontier programme, Fermilab will remain a very strong part of the LHC programme as the host US laboratory and a Tier-1 centre for the CMS experiment, and through participation in upgrades of the LHC accelerator and detectors.

As Fermilab’s staff and users say goodbye to the Tevatron, we look forward to working with the world community to address the field’s most critical and exciting questions at facilities in the US, at CERN and around the world.

Pier Oddone’s complete article will be available in the October issue of the CERN Courier.


Tevatron's shutdown, Friday 30 September

There will be a live broadcast showing the activities in Fermilab's accelerator, CDF and DZero control rooms. The broadcast will start at 9pm CET and will last for approximately 30 minutes. It will be moderated by Pier Oddone, and will include remarks about the Tevatron's legacy and the future of the laboratory. 

In addition, the Tevatron webpages include an interactive timeline of milestones from the Tevatron's three-decade history.



by Pier Oddone, Fermilab director (from CERN Courier)