Inquiring Minds

Questions About Physics

The Power of the Tevatron

How powerful is Fermilab's accelerator in volts, amperes and watts?
Aaron Nelson

Dear Aaron,

Fermilab's most powerful accelerator, the Tevatron, accelerates protons to an energy of 1,000 gigaelectronvolts(1,000 GeV), or 1,000 billion electronvolts. This energy corresponds to each proton traversing a voltage of 1,000 billion volts. In practical terms, the protons achieve this energy by traveling in a circle and passing an electric field 47,000 times per second. (The ring is about 6 kilometers in circumference and the protons travel close to the speed of light.) The Tevatron is the world's most powerful accelerator.

The Tevatron Operations Specialist told me that the current is roughly 4355 amps.

On average, Fermilab draws 45 megawatt of power. This is for the entire lab, and a lot of the energy goes into cooling the superconducting magnets inside the Tevatron, which are needed to keep the protons on their circular path.

To learn a little more about our chain of accelerators, go to:

Best wishes,

Kurt Riesselmann

Back to Questions About Physics Main Page

last modified 12/16/2003