A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

SLAC at 50


SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory honors its five-decade history as it forges ahead into new areas of scientific research.

In the early 1960s, a 2.5-mile-long strip of land in the rolling hills west of Stanford University was transformed into fertile ground for physicists’ dreams: the longest linear accelerator in the world, built for studies of the mysterious subatomic realm. 

In late August, more than 1000 people gathered at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to celebrate 50 years of scientific successes made possible by that accelerator and the ones that followed. 

At the event, SLAC Director Persis Drell told gathered employees, former employees and university, government and scientific leaders that the celebration was “not just about honoring our very distinguished, great past but about celebrating where we are today and the contributions that so many of you have made to the history of this laboratory. Today is about looking to the future of this laboratory and the discoveries yet to be made.” 

The celebration, which included a day-long scientific symposium, speeches, tours and a barbecue, included both tribute to the momentous discoveries made possible by the minds and machines at SLAC and a look ahead at the lab's continuing evolution and growth into new frontiers of scientific research.