Scenery and Science in a Physics Wonderland
Hello, and welcome to Fermilab, a particle physics lab, where we study some of the smallest and weirdest things in existence. We are a national lab supported by the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Science and operated by the University of Chicago and the Universities Research Alliance. Today’s driving tour will last approximately 30 minutes. It will take you all over the site’s public areas, giving you a look at our science, nature, architecture, art, and history. You should be be parked in the parking lot next to Wilson Hall. It's the high rise that soars above the Fermilab site.
But don't start driving just yet.
This tour is GPS enabled, so you won’t need to handle your cell phone during the drive. Please be safe during the tour, obey all traffic laws, and make sure to pay attention to the road as you learn about the lab. We’ll provide directions and keep you on track.
Our tour begins by Wilson Hall. It's named for the lab’s founder and first director, Dr. Robert Wilson. Wilson was an artist, scientist, and cowboy from Frontier, Wyoming. He was involved in almost every aspect of the new lab, from building the powerful Main Ring accelerator to the design of this central lab building. To get just the right height for the building, Wilson ascended in a helicopter and plotted the aesthetic factor based on height. The sixteen-story high-rise contains conference rooms, a cafeteria, a library, an art gallery, and office space for many of the labs 1800 employees and thousands of visiting scientists.
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Now, let's start driving!
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From your parking space, exit the parking lot, driving towards the reflecting pond that’s in front of Wilson Hall.
As you pass in front of the building, you’ll see flagpoles on your left, which hold the flags of some of the countries we partner with on Fermilab experiments. To the right is the Fermilab logo made out of grass. The iconic logo is made of two parallel lines, representing a dipole magnet, and four curved lines, representing a quadrupole magnet. These two kinds of magnets help steer and focus our particle beams.