This Day in Fermilab History: March 1, 1972
March 1, 1972: Accelerator Reaches 200 GeV Design Energy
Lab director Robert R. Wilson and others celebrate the accelerator achieving an energy of 200 GeV. (NAL photograph 72-0187-36)
After years of design and construction, the NAL Main Ring achieved its design energy of 200 GeV on March 1, 1972, ahead of schedule and under its authorized $250 million budget.
The NAL Accelerator Section had achieved a beam of 20 GeV on January 22, 53 GeV on February 4, and 100 GeV on February 11, surpassing the 76 GeV machine at Serpukhov in the U.S.S.R. which, up until that point, had been the most powerful accelerator in the world. By the morning of March 1, the lab employees knew they were on the cusp of achieving the design energy they had been striving towards. By 11:00 a.m., they had a steady, stable beam. At 12:30 p.m., the beam reached a new record of 167 GeV, and people began gathering around the screen in the Control Room to watch the beam's progress. At 1:08 p.m., the crowd cheered as the beam passed 200 GeV for the first time. The achievement was followed by a lively lab-wide celebration.
The lab quickly surpassed this 200 GeV energy goal, reaching 300 GeV on July 16, 1972, and 500 GeV on May 14, 1976.
You can read about the achievement of 200 GeV in the March 9, 1972 Village Crier. You can also read the Main Ring logbook entry from March 1, 1972, which includes signatures by many of the people present for the event.
200 GeV celebrations in the RF Control Room. (NAL photograph 72-0189-02)
200 GeV celebrations in the RF Control Room. Left to right: Dave Sutter, Sandro Ruggiero, Frank Cole, Ryuji Yamada, Jim Griffin and Stan Snowdon. (NAL photograph 72-0188-06)
200 GeV celebrations. (NAL photograph 72-0187-32)
The second page from the Main Ring logbook entry for March 1, 1972. It includes the signatures of lab director Robert Wilson and deputy director Ned Goldwasser, among many others. (Click on the image to open a PDF of the entire logbook entry.)
The seventh page from the Main Ring logbook entry for March 1, 1972. Note the "Hip hip hooray!" on the pasted-in printout. (Click on the image to open a PDF of the entire logbook entry.)