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U.S. accelerator's two-decade career ends

Sept. 30, 2011 at 3:59 PM

BATAVIA, Ill., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab in Illinois has been shut down after a two-decade research run, scientists at the Illinois physics research center say.

The underground loop that accelerated protons for collisions that provided breakthrough data for particle physicists to study was powered down Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"There is some sadness, yes, because it's the end of an era," Fermilab Director Pier Oddone told the Tribune. "On the other hand, it's a celebration because the Tevatron had a life of 2 1/2 decades and it was a very adventurous and daring life."

Although the Tevatron has gone silent, 2,300 scientists will continue research at the Batavia, Ill., facility. Another 50 or so have moved to Switzerland to work with the Tevatron's more powerful successor, the Large Hadron Collider operated by CERN.

"We've been tops here for 25 years," said Tom Diehl, who went to Fermilab in the 1980s with his physicist wife Brenna Flaughersaid.

"We were the 600-pound gorilla. Either you stick at the same energy or somebody's building a higher energy accelerator. I'm happy somebody did it. It's important to move on now."

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