Although the Tevatron, the world’s highest-energy proton-antiproton collider, will shut down on 30 September 2011, scientists will continue to analyze collected data for years to come. The experiments will also continue their long reliance on the computing, storage, and software systems pioneered over the Tevatron's lifetime.
Since 1983, the United States’s most powerful atom smasher has created particle collisions and provided particle beams to fixed target experiments and test beam areas. Tevatron experiments have informed some of the most important fundamental discoveries of our time, such as the existence of the top quark and five baryons, which helped to test and refine the Standard Model of particle physics and shape our understanding of matter, energy, space, and time.
The Tevatron, which is four miles in circumference, uses superconducting magnets chilled to -268 degrees Celsius (-450 degrees Fahrenheit), as cold as outer space, to move particles at nearly the speed of light. The collider typically produces about 10 million proton-antiproton collisions per second. Each collision produces hundreds of particles. About 200 collisions per second are recorded at each detector for further analysis.
Countless achievements in detector, accelerator, and computing technology have arisen from the Tevatron’s research program. Computing innovation at the Tevatron and its experiments contributed significantly to the development of modern computing clusters, high throughput computing, and grid computing. The computing and software experiences from the Tevatron also paved the way for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
Fermilab will celebrate the accomplishments of the Tevatron, its detectors, and those who made and operate them with a shutdown ceremony 30 September, which will be available via live streaming from the Fermilab home page.
During the next few years, the two detector collaborations that use the Tevatron, CDF and DZero, will continue to analyze data, produce results and publish scientific papers. Both CDF and DZero make use of the many local computing facilities at the Fermilab Tier-0, the collaborating universities, and distributed grid facilities via the Open Science Grid and European Grid Infrastructure. The data distribution needs of the Tevatron experiments made continuous use of emerging high throughput networks, and the data storage needs of the Tevatron experiments have resulted in petabytes of data stored on tape and extensive expertise in decades-long data storage and curation technologies and practices.
For more information on the history of the Tevatron, please visit the interactive Tevatron timeline here. To access the live streaming, please visit the Fermilab home page at http://www.fnal.gov at 2:00 p.m. CST on 30 September 2011.
This article was edited by Miriam Boon using content produced by the Fermilab Office of Communication.