At the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, in an experiment dubbed Muon g-2, the magnet will be used to capture and store muons, rare subatomic particles that exist for just 2.2 millionths of a second, NBC News reported Friday.
In a circuitous journey that began at the Brookhaven National Lab in New York, the 50-foot-wide electromagnet had to be trucked and loaded carefully onto a barge that carried it down the Atlantic Coast, around the tip of Florida, across the Gulf of Mexico and into the mouth of the Mississippi River, where it headed upriver.
At Lemont, Ill., along the Des Plaines River, it was met by a specially outfitted truck for three slow nighttime drives that brought it finally to the gates of Fermilab.
Moving the giant magnet cost $3 million, but Fermilab officials said it would have cost 10 times more to build a new magnet at the Illinois facility.
The Muon g-2 experiment, scheduled to start in 2016, will be a cooperative effort involving 26 institutions around the world.