Fermilab History and Archives Project

Fixed Target Program

Internal Target





  • Internal Target
    The Internal Target at CZero was the location for the first experiment performed at Fermilab. This experiment was a collaboration of American and Soviet physicists starting in 1972.

  • Meson Area
    The Meson Laboratory was constructed in the early 1970s in the Fixed Target Area. The unique architectural landmark is made of inverted culvert and was painted blue and orange, appearing orange from the North and blue from the South.

  • Neutrino Area

    The Neutrino Laboratory has the longest beamline in the Fixed Target Area. The 15-foot Bubble Chamber was the featured detector at the end of the beamline, near Wilson Road.



NAL Bubble Chamber area in July, 1972
NAL Bubble Chamber area in July, 1972

Vacuum Chamber and Magnet of the 15-ft. Bubble Chamber
Vacuum Chamber and Magnet of the 15-ft. Bubble Chamber
Internal Target at C-zero in Main Ring
Internal Target at C-zero in Main Ring
Main Building of the Meson Laboratory
Main Building of the Meson Laboratory

The publication of the first results of experiments at the National Accelerator Laboratory, which recently appeared in Physical Review Letters, represented the first fruits of the program visualized by the United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) on April 28, 1965 when announcement was made that the AEC was seeking a site for the "world's largest atom smasher." The Illinois location was selected in December of 1966, and a contract for preliminary design work was awarded to the Universities Research Association, Inc. (URA), then a consortium of 34 U.S. universities. Eighteen additional institutions (including one in Canada) have since joined URA, the managing organization of the National Accelerator Laboratory, now on a second five-year contract with the AEC, signed April 6, 1972.

Staff members began the actual work of building a new accelerator on June 15, 1967. Ground-breaking for the first building (the linear accelerator) took place on December 1, 1968.

Major milestones in the development of the accelerator system have included:

200 MeV in the liner accelerator Dec. 1, 1970
8 BeV in the Booster synchrotron   May 20, 1971
200 BeV in the Main Ring March 1, 1972
300 Bev in the Main Ring July 16, 1972

The experimental program began February 12, 1972 in the Internal Target section of the Main Ring with a collaboration of NAL, Rockefeller University, the University of Rochester, and the Institute of High Energy Physics at Serpukhov to study "Small Angle Proton-Proton Scattering."

The fifth year anniversary of the National Accelerator Laboratory on June 15, 1972 was highlighted by the display of the first photos of 200 BeV tracks in the 30-inch Bubble Chamber which was moved to NAL from the Argonne National Laboratory in 1971.

Results of the first experiment in the 30-inch Bubble Chamber,"Charged Particle Multiplicity Distribution from 200 BeV pp Interactions," were published on August 21st by authors representing the National Accelerator Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, and the University of Maryland. The publications of other experimental results will be appearing soon.

On September 1, 1972, ten experiments were "in residence" at NAL. This included four in the Internal Target section; two in the Neutrino Target Hall; two counter neutrino; one counter muon, and one in the 30-inch Bubble Chamber. The latest revised list of approved experiments will be published in September as part of the August, 1972 Monthly Report.

Source: The Village Crier Vol. 4 No. 29, September 14, 1972