Physics at Fermilab

Fermilab's mission is to advance the understanding of the fundamental nature of matter and energy by providing leadership and resources for qualified researchers to conduct basic research at the frontiers of high energy physics and related disciplines. Universities Research Association, Inc., (URA), a consortium of 87 research universities throughout North America, Japan and Europe, operates Fermilab for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Collaborators working at Fermilab from more than a hundred universities and laboratories across the country and from dozens of foreign institutions carry out experiments at the forefront of high-energy physics. A new experiment begins with a proposal from a group of experimenters to the laboratory director. The director considers experiment proposals with the help and advice of the Physics Advisory Committee, a panel of distinguished physicists mostly from outside institutions. For accepted proposals, the laboratory provides some of the resources. These resources can include particle beams, advanced high-resolution detectors, computation and networking, and engineering and technical support.

An important channel for experimenters' input to Fermilab is the Fermilab Users' Organization. Members of the Fermilab Users' Organization hold yearly elections for the Users' Executive Committee, whose members meet periodically with the director and laboratory staff to maintain close contact with planning, programs and operations, and advise on candidates for membership on advisory committees.

A series of particle accelerators culminates in the Tevatron, the world's most powerful, particle accelerator. The new Main Injector, the replacement for the original Main Ring accelerator, injects protons and antiprotons into the Tevatron. The two accelerators, the Tevatron and the Main Injector, provide beam for experiments in two ways. In the fixed-target mode, protons from the Main Injector are accelerated to 120 GeV, then extracted and transported to the fixed-target experimental areas. In the second mode, the collider mode, the Tevatron accepts and accelerates protons and antiprotons to 1 TeV and brings the counter-rotating beams into collision. To exploit the resulting center-of-mass energy, two large collider detectors, CDF and DZero, operate at two sites around the Tevatron ring. With the Main Injector in operation, it is possible to operate simultaneously with 120 GeV fixed-target beams and collider experiments.

The People of Fermilab

Successful particle physics experiments need more than experimenters and fast-moving particles. They take planning, consulting, financing, detection, computing, engineering, construction, bookkeeping, communication, and consideration of safety and effects on the environment. They use the skills and experience of physicists, engineers, technical specialists, administrators and the people who provide the services they need: purchasing, buildings, hiring, transportation, safety, information, meals, housing, child care, and recreation. The employees of Fermilab work in myriad capacities to create an outstanding laboratory for high-energy physics research. Each person who works at Fermilab brings a unique combination of skills and experience and spirit to the job. Every experimenter should recognize the human rights principle of Fermilab as the standard for the way we work together.

The Laboratory and the Environment

Fermilab's 6,800 acres contain the Tevatron, Main Injector, detectors and 350 buildings, including laboratories, shops, assembly bays, administrative offices, a medical office, a cafeteria, warehouses, recreational facilities and housing for experimenters.

Wilson Hall ("The High Rise") reaches into the sky above 6,800 acres of Illinois that hold--besides the country's busiest high-energy physics lab--lakes and ponds, upland forests, fields of corn and soybeans, oak savannas and reconstructed native tallgrass prairie.

At Fermilab, we have a strong commitment to stewardship of the land. From a 10-acre beginning in 1975, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy and hundreds of volunteers, we have reconstructed more than 1000 acres of our site to a native grassland that approximates the pre-settlement condition, creating one of the largest tallgrass prairies in the world. Wild ducks and geese far outnumber physicists at Fermilab; and, the Laboratory maintains a large herd of American bison adjacent to the Industrial Area.

Fermilab experimenters need to recognize and help implement the Environmental Policy of DOE, with its goals for the entire Fermilab community.

How We're Organized

Operating under a directorate, Fermilab has four divisions and four sections. The Beams Division (BD) designs, constructs and operates the machines that provide high-energy protons and antiprotons as well as the beamlines that transport beam to fixed- target experiments.

The Particle Physics Division (PPD) takes responsibility for mounting high-energy physics experiments and supports Fermilab staff scientists in their physics research.

The Computing Division (CD) operates and maintains most of the laboratory's computers and computer networks and provides much of the hardware and software used for data acquisition, offline analysis and general computing at Fermilab.

The Technical Division (TD) manages the machine shops and much of the laboratory's mechanical engineering support. The TD designs and builds accelerator and analysis magnets, both superconducting and conventional and carries out research on advanced magnet technology.

The Business Services Section (BSS) manages mail, procurement, stockrooms, warehousing, shipping, receiving, payroll, accounting and the Legal Office.

The Facilities Engineering Services Section (FESS) coordinates construction and facility operations and maintenance, as well as civil engineering, architectural design and major construction inspection.

The Laboratory Services Section (LSS) administers Fermilab's personnel function and manages the Library, the Users' Office, the Users' Center, the Benefits Office, the Medical Office, publications, housing, the cafeteria and child care, as well as the Education Office.

The Environment, Safety and Health Section (ES&H) monitors Fermilab's environment, safety and health programs, manages site security, telecommunications, the Fermi Fire Department, conducts independent reviews and serves as the ES&H reporting channel to DOE.

The Fermilab Directorate oversees all these organizational units and directly supervises program planning, the budget, internal audit, technology transfer and the Office of Public Affairs.

Since organizational changes are not unusual at Fermilab, we suggest that if you need more details about these organizations, ask at the Users' Office, the division or section office, or check the Internet; for example, "