Having been married to a magician (Marshall Brodien) for 24 years, I learned decades ago that much goes on without our knowing, and it happens right in front of our eyes. Such is the way of particle physics, the branch of science that focuses on the actions and purpose of life from its teeniest, tiniest parts, and searches for answers as to what the universe is made of and how it works.
Fermilab is the United States’ premier particle physics and accelerator laboratory. There, approximately 4,000 scientists and engineers from more than 50 countries, seek to solve the mysteries of matter, energy, space, and time. Each year, the lab also hosts nearly 1,000 university students participating in research programs.
According to their website, Fermilab’s vision is to lead the nation in the development of particle colliders and their use for scientific discovery and advance particle physics through measurements of the cosmos. They also intend to lead the world in neutrino science with particle accelerators.
Neutrinos could be responsible for matter that created a universe dominated by matter and making it possible for us to be here today. At this time, more than 1,400 scientists from at least 35 countries are building the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment which is anticipated to send a neutrino beam from Illinois’ Fermilab through the earth to a neutrino detector at Sanford Underground Research in South Dakota.
Many moons ago, when I was in elementary school, I learned that atoms were the smallest unit of matter. Research has since discovered that atoms consist of smaller particles called quarks and leptons (which includes neutrinos), and it’s likely these units may be broken down into even smaller particles.
Studies at Fermilab are conducted on particles using accelerators that recreate the conditions of the early universe. These accelerators and other sensors and detectors allow scientists to observe subatomic particles by smashing them into each other.
To the novice, these studies are beyond our understanding. However, extensive information on Fermilab’s website and at their learning center breaks much of it down to basic levels. The public is welcome to visit Fermilab to walk through their prairie paths, interact with hands-on activities at the Lederman Science Center, attend guided, scheduled tours at Wilson Hall, and even observe a herd of bison.
For an extraordinary opportunity to learn more about Fermilab’s extensive research projects including neutrinos, dark matter, and dark energy (which comprises 96% of the universe), visit Fermilab and their website or call 630-840-3351.
**Do you know that I’ve written 11 books? You can find all of them on my website.