Celebrating 50 years

Come celebrate our 50th anniversary with us!

1967 marked the birth of Fermilab. That year the lab hired its first employees and began operations in Illinois.To celebrate our 50th anniversary, we are offering numerous events for the public to enjoy, to find out more about our laboratory, and to learn about the research we do to advance humankind’s understanding of energy, matter, space and time. Fermilab has an exciting history of discovery and innovation and has made important contributions to the ultimate goal of understanding how the universe works. And we have ambitious plans for new research projects in the years ahead.

The highlight of 2017 will be our big, free Open House on Saturday, Sept. 23. This free event will be a rare opportunity to see parts of the laboratory that are usually closed to the public. Tours, science demos, and other activities will be available for all ages. Open House registration is closed. If you missed your chance to register, don’t worry! Fermilab is open to the public every day of the week for self-guided tours. Free drop-in public tours are offered every Wednesday at 10 a.m., and the Ask-A-Scientist tour and lecture program takes place the first Sunday of most months at 1 p.m. And don’t miss Fermilab’s annual Family Open House on February 11, 2018. To learn more and register for these and many other STEM education, science and cultural events at Fermilab, visit events.fnal.gov.

We welcome you to tour our laboratory, see our exhibits, take in a show, view our art gallery, enjoy the view from the 15th floor of Wilson Hall and ask a scientist about the universe. Our site is open to the public every day of the year, and we offer many education, arts and visitor programs for the public to enjoy.

Here are the main events we have planned for 2017:

Open House

Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017
10 a.m.-4 p.m.

  • Tour our experiments and see our accelerators
  • Enjoy hands-on science activities
  • Visit Wilson Hall, the prairie and technical facilities
  • Interact with scientists in Europe, Chile and South Dakota
  • Say hi to a bison

Fermilab is located 45 miles west of Chicago


Open House

Saturday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
It’s our biggest Open House in decades. Registration is full.

Prairie Seed Harvest

Saturdays, Sept. 30 and Oct. 28, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Help restore tallgrass prairie at our seed harvest. This long-standing tradition complements the vision of founding director Robert Wilson to surround those working on the smallest pieces of nature with a natural laboratory. We’ll present on 50 native plant and animal species. Hot dog lunch is provided.

Lecture: Mars 2020 and the Importance of Planetary Protection

Friday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m.
Moogega Cooper of Jet Propulsion Laboratory discusses the NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission, which is designed to investigate key question related to the habitability of Mars. She’ll describe planetary protection and why it is an important aspect of space exploration. Tickets are required.

In addition to these special events, Fermilab offers numerous tours and programs throughout the year:

Guided and self-guided tours

Science and education programs

Ask a Scientist program

Arts and lecture programs

Nature walks and programs

For more information and a calendar of all public events, visit events.fnal.gov.



Colloquium: Fermilab and the Foundations of the Standard Model

Wednesday, Jan. 11, 4 p.m.
Scientist Dan Green discusses Fermilab’s leadership in the exploration of the Standard Model throughout its 50-year history. Now exploration beyond the Standard Model is the future, with Fermilab hosting DUNE and CERN hosting the High-Luminosity LHC. This event is free.


Concert and kickoff party

Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, 7 p.m.
Join us for a concert by Mucca Pazza at 8 p.m., preceded by a party with dessert, music, an art exhibit, Einstein, Mr. Freeze and some very cool science demos at 7 p.m. Tickets are required.


Fermilab Colloquium: Enrico Fermi: The Pope of Physics

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, 4 p.m.
University of Pennsylvania scientist Gino Segrè and writer Bettina Hoerlin discuss the incredible achievements of Fermilab’s namesake, Enrico Fermi, especially how he was shaped by history and how he, in turn, shaped history. This event is free.


Fermilab’s Greatest Hits

Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, 8 p.m.
Senior Fermilab scientist Chris Quigg presents Fermilab’s Greatest Hits: Highlights from the First Fifty Years. Tickets are required.


Annual Family Open House

Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, 1-5 p.m.
Bring your kids to Fermilab’s annual Family Open House in Wilson Hall with hands-on activities for the entire family. Event is free and supported by Fermilab Friends for Science Education.


Fermilab Colloquium: Fifty Years of Particle Physics and Discoveries at Fermilab

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Valencia, Spain
Fermilab physicist Pushpa Bhat celebrates the lab’s 50th all the way over in Valencia, Spain, at the Insitut de Fisica Corpuscular. Her talk highlights the laboratory’s major discoveries over its half-century history.


PechaKucha Night Batavia

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, 7 p.m.
Fermilab hosts PechaKucha Night Batavia, which is an informal and fun gathering where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts in the PechaKucha format: 20 slides, 20 seconds each.


Fermilab Colloquium: A Brief History of the Tevatron and Accelerator Complex

Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 4 p.m.
Fermilab’s third director, John Peoples, walks through history of the Tevatron and the accelerator complex, starting from the early days of the Energy Doubler. The event is free.

Pregunte a un Científico – Ask-a-Scientist en español

Sunday, March 12, 1 p.m.
Fermilab’s first Spanish-language Ask-a-Scientist, Pregunte a un Científico takes place during our 50th anniversary. Scientist Minerba Betancourt will address “La Fábrica de Neutrinos Más Fuerte/Potente del Mundo.” Registration is required.


Colloquium: Fermilab: Local Treasure and National Treasure

Wednesday, March 15, 6 p.m.
Fermilab scientist emeritus Michael Albrow speaks at an after-dinner talk to the American Society of Mechanical of Engineers about contributions Fermilab has made to science and the local community. NIU-Naperville, Room 161, 1120 E. Diehl Road. ASME members, guests: $20. Students: free.


Annual Wonders of Science show

Sunday, March 19, 1 p.m.
Watch amazing science demonstrations at our annual Wonders of Science show. Tickets are required.


Lecture: Cancer Treatments and Particle Accelerators

Friday, March 24, 8 p.m.
In the 1990s, Fermilab built the first proton accelerator dedicated to cancer treatment at a medical center. In this Lecture Series talk, scientist Mark Pankuch discusses cancer treatment using proton accelerators, available at about a dozen centers across the United States. Tickets are required.


Fermilab Colloquium: How Fermilab Changed the Course of Cosmology

Wednesday, March 29, 3:30 p.m.
In this extended Colloquium, University of Chicago physicists and Fermilab alums Rocky Kolb and Michael Turner look back at the history of the cosmic frontier at Fermilab and examine the big, open questions facing both particle physics and cosmology. The event is free.

STEM Career Expo

Wednesday, April 19, 5:30 p.m.
This year Fermilab presents its 10th STEM Career Expo, where students can meet scientists, engineers, and technicians, ask experts career questions, and attend panel discussions on various career fields. The event is free.

Lecture: We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Known Universe

Friday, May 19, 8 p.m.
PHD Comics’ Jorge Cham and UC Irvine’s Daniel Whiteson stop at Fermilab on a tour for their book, “We Have No Idea.” You might know how the universe works. But you might not know how much we don’t know. The authors turn those unknown unknowns into known unknowns. Tickets are required.


Angela Gonzales art exhibit opening reception

Monday, June 5, 5 p.m.
Fermilab founding director Robert Wilson hand-picked artist Angela Gonzales to help create a visual identity for Fermilab. “A Lasting Mark: Artist Angela Gonzales at Fermilab, 1967-1998” showcases her bold, inspiring work over 31 years at the lab. The exhibit will run from June 1 to Sept. 30.


50th Anniversary Symposium

Wednesday, June 7
Fermilab invites scientists from around the world to gather and discuss the lab’s achievements and plans for the future. Registration is required.


Social Media Celebration

Thursday, June 15
Fermilab’s was the third website in the United States. So what better way to recognize our birthday than with an online celebration? Join us through social media to celebrate Fermilab’s 50th birthday. It was on June 15, 1967, that the lab’s first employees reported to work in an office in Illinois.


Lecture: Neutrinos are Everywhere

Friday, July 14, 8 p.m.
Fermilab Chief Research Officer Joe Lykken gives us the rundown on neutrinos, the oddballs of elementary particles. The story of these “little neutral ones” has many surprises and inspiring examples of daring experimental initiative. Tickets are required.


DPF 2017 conference

July 31-Aug. 4
The American Physical Society Division of Particles and Fields will hold their 2017 meeting at Fermilab. The meeting brings the members of the division together to review results and discuss future plans and directions for the field of particle physics. Registration is required.


Panel discussion: Fermilab and the New Frontiers of Physics

Wednesday, Sept. 6, 6 p.m.
The Chicago Council on Science and Technology hosts a discussion on the cutting-edge research at Fermilab. Fermilab COO Tim Meyer moderates a panel of three scientists to talk cosmology, accelerators and supercomputing. Q&A will follow. The free event is at Harold Washington Center.


Lecture: Enrico Fermi: Architect of the Atomic Age

Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, 8 p.m.
University of Pennsylvania scientist Gino Segrè and writer Bettina Hoerlin discuss the incredible achievements of Fermilab’s namesake, Enrico Fermi, especially how he was shaped by history and how he, in turn, shaped history. Tickets are required.