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Fermilab to receive $60 million in stimulus funds for continued research

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009 10:55 p.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Fermilab will receive another $60 million in stimulus funds that will create more than 100 jobs and allow the laboratory to continue its high-energy physics.

Fermilab scientist Sergei Nagaitsev said he is happy to see the laboratory is getting the money it needs to conduct its research.

"Before, we were strapped for cash every fiscal year," he said. "To advance science, you also have to advance the technology."

Nagaitsev, who lives in Geneva, has worked at Fermilab since 1995. The laboratory has 1,960 employees, with the majority of them living in the Fox Valley or western DuPage County.

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Batavia, a former Fermilab scientist, announced Wednesday that Fermilab will receive the additional $60.2 million in stimulus funds to be used for next-generation particle accelerator research and neutrino research. Earlier this year, Fermilab received $34.9 million in stimulus money to fund infrastructure projects and neutrino research.

"As a result of this $60 million, Fermilab will be able to retain its status as a world leader in advanced particle acceleration research," Foster said.

The top quark was discovered at the Fermilab Tevatron Collider in 1995. It is the heaviest known elementary particle observed in nature. Quarks are one of the fundamental building blocks of matter in the universe.

Fermilab estimates that at least 125 full-time on-site construction jobs will be created for Illinois contractors.

Of the $60.2 million, $52.7 million will go toward research on next-generation particle accelerator technologies using superconducting radio frequency technology.

"This technology provides a highly efficient way to accelerate beams of particles and has potential applications in medicine, energy, industry and material sciences," Foster said.

In addition, $7.5 million will be used for neutrino research in collaboration with Brookhaven National Laboratory. Neutrinos have no electric charge, and their mass is so small that the heaviest neutrino is at least a million times lighter than the lightest charged particle.

One reason researchers study neutrinos is to try to explain why we exist.

Fermilab is one of 10 Department of Energy laboratories in six states to receive part of $327 million in stimulus funds.

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