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Shutdown looms at pioneering suburban Chicago atom smasher; scientists hope for new project
BATAVIA, Ill. (AP) ' The physics world will soon be focused on the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to see if scientists there can confirm the startling findings that some subatomic particles called neutrinos can travel faster than light.
But this is also a time of transition for the famous lab in suburban Chicago. Physicists are about to shut down the Tevatron, a once-unrivaled atom smasher that recreates conditions that existed just after the Big Bang.
After 28 years of research, the Tevatron has been eclipsed by a larger, more powerful collider in Europe. The shutdown will be a somber moment for scientists, and some wonder whether it signals a lack of commitment to high-level particle science on U.S. soil.
Fermilab leaders say there's plenty of research to keep Batavia at the cutting edge.