In the early 1960s, a two-and-a-half-mile-long strip of land in the rolling hills west of Stanford University was transformed into fertile ground for physicists' dreams.
They built the longest and straightest structure in the world – a linear particle accelerator first dubbed Project M and affectionately known as "the Monster" to the scientists who conjured it – to explore the mysterious subatomic realm. Fifty years later, more than 1,000 people gathered at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on Friday and Saturday to celebrate the scientific successes generated by that accelerator and the ones that followed, and the scientists who developed and used them.
The two-day event for employees, science luminaries and government and university leaders was more than a tribute to the momentous discoveries and Nobel Prizes made possible by the minds and machines at SLAC. It also provided a look ahead at the lab's continuing evolution and growth into new frontiers of scientific research that will keep it at the forefront of discovery for decades to come.