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Four Things You Might Not Know About Fermilab

The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia turns 50 this year and celebrates with a family day on February 12.

Photo: istockphoto

Felicia the ferret helped clean the lab’s long, narrow pipes during the ’70s. She would scurry through a pipe with a string tied to her harness. When she came out the other end, staff attached a giant cotton swab to the string and pulled it back through.

• In 1992, Fermilab launched the third website ever. The World Wide Web was created, after all, to exchange particle physics data.

• A 50-foot-wide electromagnet used for collecting data on subatomic particles made a 35-day journey from Long Island by barge and flatbed truck in 2013. It barely cleared the sides of the toll arches along Interstate 355 when it got to Illinois.

• Contrary to rumors, the bison at the lab weren’t introduced to forewarn of dangerous levels of radioactivity but to serve as a metaphor for the frontier of high-energy physics.

Find out more about Fermilab’s Family Day on February 12 here.

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