Fermilab: Physics, the Frontier, and Megascience

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University of Chicago Press, Dec 15, 2008 - Technology & Engineering - 513 pages

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, located in the western suburbs of Chicago, has stood at the frontier of high-energy physics for forty years. Fermilab is the first history of this laboratory and of its powerful accelerators told from the point of view of the people who built and used them for scientific discovery.


Focusing on the first two decades of research at Fermilab, during the tenure of the laboratory’s charismatic first two directors, Robert R. Wilson and Leon M. Lederman, the book traces the rise of what they call “megascience,” the collaborative struggle to conduct large-scale international experiments in a climate of limited federal funding. In the midst of this new climate, Fermilab illuminates the growth of the modern research laboratory during the Cold War and captures the drama of human exploration at the cutting edge of science.

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About the author (2008)

Lillian Hoddeson is the Thomas M. Siebel Professor of History of Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Adrienne W. Kolb is the Fermilab archivist. Catherine Westfall is visiting associate professor at Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University.

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