While the LHC has gotten all of the hype in the news for the past few years on particle physics, there’s another reactor, LHC’s predecessor, which carried out many important particle physics experiments. At 4 miles long and located at Fermi National Laboratory (Geneva’s not the only place with particle accelerators), the Tevatron has shut down. Its retirement comes after 26 years in which it served as a tool as the most powerful particle accelerator, until the LHC came along in 2009 making the Tevatron obsolete. It officially shut down on September 30th, 2011. Throughout its life span, the Tevatron has measured and discovered many elementary particles, implemented new technology (eg. superconducting accelerators, grid computing). So while the particle accelerators of the past and present do not have a direct impact on our lives, they provide testing grounds for new technologies that make their way to the consumer market and help scientists generate new theories which allow for new technologies.

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