As usual, Reality does its absolute best to make me look like a complete fool. Just a few days after I wrote my post after the coming obsolescence of Fermilab, it seems they’ve managed to pull off one last great find.
Some people know that there are six varieties of quark (two of these varieties make up the particles we’re used to, except the electron, which is actually a lepton, I think). We’ve managed to observe five of them conclusively, but the rather heavyset top quark has a particle-accelerator signature which looks similar to that of some other collision traces. Well, the folks at Fermilab think they’ve finally figured out how to conclusively produce one.
By exploiting the weak-force interactions between electrons and positrons (I think that’s what they were), the Fermilabians managed to create something that they’re fairly certain is a top quark. This brings us one step closer to the Higgs Particle, which is theorized to be the reason all particles have mass (that may be why they call it the God Particle, although when I think of godlike powers, conferring inertia is not exactly at the top of the list). Well, Fermilab, I wish you luck! They just might be able to beat CERN to this one.
Side Note: I don’t know why more young people don’t get interested in physics, especially particle physics. “Hey kids, why don’t you come work at our particle accelerator. You get to smash things together really hard, and get paid for it!”