Testimonials from the Fermilab Community

Note: testimonials will appear on this page after being reviewed by an admin.

"I no longer wear my Fermilab gear outside the lab. I used to get people saying how much they loved it, now I just get concerns about not being allowed in anymore."
"I remember when Fermilab was open and my parents took me there. I grew up coming to Fermilab. It is such a pity that I won’t be able to do that with my children."
"Has anyone realized that these policies disproportionately affect undocumented immigrants?"
"I work at the lab and had to carry a special paper code to even enter buildings. I was locked out of a building I needed to access for multiple weeks."
"I used to love doing science at Fermilab. It was my favorite place to be and a great place to work… Now it’s mostly red tape and closed doors, honestly. The new rules that the site office is pushing are not even remotely necessary and they’re just making people unhappy. I used to be proud to invite the community in. I used to feel free to be creative in this workplace. Nowadays I wouldn’t even try to pitch an idea for new outreach programs. Just to be frustrated that no one can come to events anyway? No thanks. I don’t know why DOE is pushing as many unnecessary rules as possible down our throats. They might not realize they’re ruining the best things about Fermilab."
"I was called by the Main Control Room one recent evening because there was a problem with an important device that is my responsibility. I would have come in, but I was out to dinner with my wife. If she was allowed to come on site with me at all, she would have had to promise not to get out of the car. I was not going to strand her in the car! If I dropped her off at home it would have added an hour to my response. Fortunately I was able to talk an operator through a diagnosis and recovery of the system over the phone. We can no longer bring even a single visitor on site with us, even though they will be accompanying us the entire time. Does the DOE not trust us to handle a guest? If not, why do they trust any of us to do anything at all? I used to give tours to friends all the time, but that has come to an end. SO sad. "
"I spent six months living in the Fermilab village back in the mid-2010s, and one of the things that made living there special was Fermilab's accessibility to the public. There were always bicyclists passing through the area, folks bringing their dogs to the dog park, and families pulled over on the side of the road to admire and photograph the bison herd. When my father and brother came to visit, it was easy to bring them on-site and share with them the natural beauty and scientific marvels that Fermilab has to offer. It's a trip that they never forgot. After visiting some of the other national labs which have much more restrictive site-access policies, I realized what a gem Fermilab was for both its scientists/staff and the local community. This openness and connection to the public has always been the soul of Fermilab. I am deeply saddened by the restrictive site-access policies that went into place following the pandemic lockdown, and sincerely hope that the Fermilab DOE Site Office will restore the openness that I fondly remember and that Director Wilson envisioned when he founded the lab."
"Security is getting over the top here. For example, spouses cannot visit the Credit Union to do banking or sign mortgages. The entire University Campus feel of Fermilab is gone. It has become ANL where access is completely restricted. The reason for increased security has never been explained. So why?"
"I am a 40 year former retired department head, head of accelerator operations who frequently was called in on the middle of the night. I was trusted to hire people and manage the accelerator, Yet I am not allowed to visit coworkers of the Laboratory i helped build. "
"I appeared in the video that plays on the 15th floor. Now I am a former employee and no longer allowed to walk in the building to even visit the ATM, much less take my kids there and show them and point myself out like we used to. "
"Years ago I worked and lived onsite at Fermilab. I have been longing to bike through and visit (from a distance) with the bison herd."
"I believe this facility should be open to the public. What a fantastic facility. Children especially should be welcome to begin their dreams and fascination with science. Fermi Lab creates interest in science and it should be a teaching tool as well as a research facility."
"We had a most amazing experience seeing a Mongolian band in the auditorium! Such a great venue. This place was clearly built with intent to be culturally beneficial, outside of the research done there. As an artist with interests in architecture and science, I quite enjoyed the visit to Wilson Hall in general with local artwork and science displays. It seems to me that the cultural benefits to the neighborhood, and much more importantly the very obvious strong potential of inspiring visiting young people to choose a life path in the sciences, would far outweigh whatever concerns are at play here. "
"I was telling a coworker about this page, and he expressed concern that if "they" found out which employees had contributed signatures and stories, those people would be fired. Now I know that isn't true but I think this is another indicator of how badly morale is being eroded here."
"As a graduate student who first visited Fermilab in 2017 and then began my PhD in 2018, this institution once inspired me to begin my career as a researcher. Now, Fermilab has solidified my decision to leave research completely. I spent the entire year of 2022 here living in the village, and on top of the stress of research, living on site created challenges regularly. At the end of my time here, I experienced a medical emergency where I spent the day in a local hospital. My parents flew in from out-of-state immediately to help take care of me, but Fermilab would not allow my biological mother onto campus property because her passport was expired. She is listed on all of my documentation as my emergency contact; this made no difference. It is absolutely ridiculous that no emergency protocol exists for people living on site who are experiencing a medical emergency and need help. The best they could do was tell my parents to get a hotel room. I spent my last weekend of 2022 in a hotel off site with my parents, paid out of our own pockets, as my house in the village sat empty. All I wanted was for my mom to be able to cook me dinner after a long day in the hospital, but that was too much to ask for. I have shared my story to many colleagues to bring awareness to the fact that Fermilab is not a safe place to live, especially for those with medical conditions where they may require help from people outside of the lab. These incredibly restrictive policies not only prevent recreation, but also apparently cannot be bent in case of an actual emergency."
"There is a conference taking place this week with attendees from many other national labs present. There are people stationed at the stairways and elevators on the first floor of Wilson Hall, and they tell me that they are there to make sure that nobody with a conference badge accesses any other floors. Wow. There's a good use of people's time. "
"I've attended large collaboration meetings, and seen scientists who flew halfway around the world giving their talks over Zoom from a hotel room 4 miles away because they were unable to get badged in time for the first day of the meeting."
"The scientific community at the lab is great, but the access requirements make it very unpleasant to live onsite, especially without a car. In many circumstances groceries can't be delivered, rideshare cars can't pick you up, and friends can't give you a lift home in the evening. The process of getting onsite is opaque and can be intimidating, especially to foreign nationals. This environment is discouraging academics from visiting, or sending their students to the lab, thus depleting the international research community that Fermilab has come to be known for."
"In a few days, members of the public and delivery workers will not be able to get on site without REAL ID. This is despite the fact that the federal deadline to get on a plane has been pushed to May 2025. People who live in the village and are visiting without a car rely on delivery from the outside for food and on uber and taxi drivers to go off site. This rule (which is clearly unnecessary, otherwise it would have been implemented on planes) will increase the sense of isolation the Fermilab community is already experiencing."
"My son earned his merit badge with a tour of the Main Bldg. I often rode my bike through the labs grounds. It has a lot of history. Ramsey Auditorium, he led the team that assembled the Tinian Atom Bomb. Lived nearby. Once got a giant copy of an impact statement. Fermi was being considered as the feeder for the Superconducting Supercollider, in conjunction with the RoW of the EJ&E Railroad. Let Ebikes in. Fermi, SW boundry is the Prairie Path. Just West through subdivision you can get to Fox River Trail."
"The main reason Fermilab has enjoyed an elevated position in the scientific community for decades has been its openness. Fermilab used to be the place where the North American particle physics community would meet. When I worked at Fermilab more than a decade ago, this openness was essential to my work - the large number of visitors passing through allowed me to form new collaborations, many of which last to this day. Now, entering Fermilab has become a hassle. Who would still consider organizing a scientific meeting at a lab where doing so means endless and senseless paperwork for the visitors?"
"Fermilab has long been a key component of our local community. Some of its scientists live in our neighborhood, and I have inspired my young sons by bringing them to Fermilab’s open houses to celebrate its intellectual wealth and international collaboration. We are so proud to visit, knowing that the world’s smartest minds are right down the street! Please continue to allow the tax payers and neighbors to celebrate the accomplishments at Fermilab."
"A field trip to Fermilab when I was an undergraduate physics major at the University of Iowa is one of my cherished memories. The Beloit College Physics and Astronomy Club has been patiently waiting for “Covid restrictions” to lift so they can visit. We had no idea that visits to the lab have been curtailed so strictly for other reasons! Please open up access to the lab to inspire and educate the next generation of scientists and engineers!"
"I have fond memories of driving through Fermilab viewing the wildlife. A few years back I learned that you couldn't drive- thru property after I was stopped by an armed guard attempting to do so. I was so disappointed. This area should be opened to the public"
"I recently strongly advised to hold a scientific workshop at Fermilab because of the increased paperwork for users, including the realistic potential impossibility for scientists to attend efficiently."
"My perception of a scientist visiting Fermilab in 2023 is that parts of management fell for a troublesome misunderstanding of how science works. Safety policies seem to reflect a perception of science that is producing secrets that need guarding. It couldn't be further from the truth. Science needs open doors, open access, freely floating information, friendliness to visitors, simple procedures, etcetc. in order to keep the atmosphere bristling. Right now the place is under a thick blanket, and that needs changing back. You can't be competitive this way. As an anecdote, let me just say that on my first day at FNAL, as a jetlagged visitor with site access, I had to escort a former lab director (!!!) from the ground floor to the cafeteria because he was not allowed to walk unaccompanied. It was somewhat embarrassing for both of us. Funny, but with a sad aftertaste."
"Fermilab is part of the northern Illinois community, and has been an inspiration for countless young people. Restore open access!"
"Despite having a QR code and invitation email (i.e. formal permission to enter in order to deliver an *invited* lecture), along with my REAL ID Driver's license, it took about an hour of dealing with security, and being made to feel like a criminal intruder, before I could even enter Wilson Hall. "
"I lived on site at Fermilab while completing my PhD, and continue to work actively in the field of particle physics (last time I was there, my photo was still on the wall in the cafeteria!). Fermilab is on a beautiful site that my dogs and I loved to explore, but last time I tried to visit for a scientific meeting I was turned away at the gate - how things have changed. I firmly believe that the fundamental work we do to understand the nature of the Universe belongs to everybody, not only to the scientific community, and certainly not to the even smaller community of Fermilab employees. I want my students to enjoy Fermilab the way I did as an aspiring scientist, and I support this petition in the strongest possible terms."
"I enjoyed Scottish and English dancing at Fermilab for many years. I found out about these classes because it was available on the Fermilab website. I ended up finding a wonderful group of lifelong friends who even attended my wedding. It was also a great opportunity to mingle with members of the scientific community who would frequent our classes. Dancing is a huge part of my life now and I never would have discovered this group and form of dance if Fermilab had been closed to the public."
"Besides being a great place to work, Fermilab was home to numerous public activities. There were regular traditional dances in the Kuhn Barn. Wonderful concerts in Ramsey Auditorium. People came to fish, train their dogs, rollerblade, hike, and so much more. Plus there were the outreach programs sponsored by the education center. "
"We used to come here a lot, and when my daughter got old enough to really understand, we came with a group, not realizing the main building was still closes. That was the best part in the past."
"After 30 years of dedicated service, retired personal are not allowed on site. Never minded all the extra people on site. Except for the bikers who have no respect for people who work there and won’t ride on the bike paths that we maintain for them . "
"I'm a scientist at another national lab and used to enjoy visiting Fermilab frequently, back when access was simple. Also my late aunt and uncle lived near Fermilab; they were not scientists but very inquisitive and I know they really enjoyed the many science outreach activities hosted by Fermilab. Open-ness and being a good neighbor is a huge part of building public support for science, which is incredibly important nowadays."
"As an early career scientist at the lab, it is critical to actively network and advertise the amazing work we are doing. However, I will no longer agree to host invited guests at the lab, as the embarrassment over the inability to get them onsite through functional policies outweighs the detriment to my career by not hosting them at all. I am constantly afraid that by accepting a permanent position at the lab, I have functionally hampered my own career."
"When I came to Fermilab in late 90s, it blew my mind how open and welcoming Fermilab was, both the people and the policies. It was so awesome to walk out of CDF trailers to see a family stop by to look at the buffalos and their calves in the spring, to play soccer on weekends with other users and their family members, to participate in and just attend the numerous cultural events that always looked to engage not just the employees/users, but the entire community around the Lab. There was no doubt that Fermilab in addition to its research leadership was also a community magnet. On a recent visit to IL, I wanted to take my kids to the Lab, so that they can see how magnificent yet tangible/accessible the leading edge of science was. I was very sad to learn that things have changed … I felt dumbfounded. Beyond squandering an opportunity to engage, educate, and inspire (which, very practically speaking, would be another great use of everything Fermilab has to offer), limiting (effectively eliminating) access just does not seem to be a smart move (and I still want to think Fermilab = smart, all the way to lab director and folks in DOE). It’s just not emotionally intelligent. Even if we look at it from the perspective of Fermilab being publicly funded – the public is much more likely to support causes it understands / can engage with vs. something secret behind the tall wall. Please restore open access! The upside >> the downside (whatever that might be)."
"First the good story: a few years ago, when my stepdaughter was having her wedding shower, I took the groom *and my wife's ex-husband* on an extended tour of Fermilab for the day. We all had a great time and her ex couldn't stop talking about how cool it was. I could tell dozens of stories like that in the 40 years I've been coming to the lab. It's what used to make it a great place. Now the bad story: recently I came the lab with my grad student. Her ID had expired, but she had done everything right to renew it and had her QR code. Unfortunately, because she was only here for one day, she couldn't get a badging appointment, so they wouldn't let her through the gate, *even though the paper says the QR code will work twice*! The guard was not willing to try to deal with it, so I pulled over and started calling people. No one answered their phone, and the Users' Office had a message that said - I swear I'm not making this up - "We do no answer the phone or check voicemail. Please email us." I finally had to leave her at a coffee shop while I came on to site to deal with it. Once I came in person, the Users' Office was able to deal with it in 30 seconds AND she was able to get a badge, but the fact that there was no direct way to deal with problems at the gate blew an hour of the one day she was here."
"One of the joys of being a scientist at Fermilab is being able to share my work with friends, family, and community members. I was surprised recently to learn just how restricted it is to the public, even while being escorted by badged personnel. I was able to show my parents and a friend the Lederman Science Center and the bison, but I wasn’t even allowed to escort them to Wilson Hall which has many visitor-friendly features that would have been of interest. These rules and lack of access are completely unnecessary. I don’t understand why the DOE trusts us with the most cutting edge science, but not with bringing visitors to campus. This level of lack of access to the public just reinforces the idea that science is closed to the public and widens the divide between the scientists and the public in a crucial time when that needs to be bridged."
"I started working at the lab in 1971; my user number is VS253 (and I was slow to get a badge- had been working in Proton East for a while before I got to the Village to sign up). However, I no longer have a badge- the period has been shortened from 5 years to 1 year, and the process is so arduous I gave up- beyond my technical strengths. It's sad- and also I think not good for me or the lab- too hard. I have three exceptional students I wantto have work on the TestBeam Time-of-Flight Upgrade-- however the current process is daunting. I hope they can work there-"
"My first visit to Fermilab was in 2017. I was just starting graduate school, and I still remember the moment I walked into Wilson Hall through the revolver doors, being awestruck by the beauty of the atrium and the buzzing atmosphere. I had little business here, my visit was mostly due to the lab being close to my home institution. I met a lot of people on that visit that I still collaborate with, and took an underground tour. My most recent visit to Fermilab involved being humiliated and threatened at the gate for 45 minutes (despite having all the necessary pre-arrangements to enter) and then arriving at the front doors to realize they can't be used anymore. This experience left a bad taste in my mouth, and it does the same to *everyone* who has visited recently. Fermilab has somehow succeeded in taking a wondrous, inspiring, and inviting climate, and turned it into a nuisance for everyone involved."
"I used to travel to Fermilab at least once a month to collaborate and do research. Since the increased restrictions I have found it impossible to access FNAL's campus on a reliable basis and have started to shift my research to other DOE labs where access and participation is easier. This impacts how I anticipate spending my scientific time and effort and, if nothing changes, may ultimately lead me to disengage with Fermilab for the purposes of ongoing research"
"I visited Fermilab back in 2019 while I was still in High School intern working in a neutrino physics laboratory. My advisor was invited to give a lecture at Fermilab, and allowed me to tag along. I remember being in awe while looking at the control rooms, and getting tours to NOvA, MINOS, MINERVA, microBooNE. I was even able to stand on the ICARUS TPC! I was able to learn how all of these experiments worked while I stood before them. I also got to see many of the decommissioned experiments, including the Bubble chamber. This experience further fueled my passion for physics, and I consider it one of my favorite experiences. I remain in the field of neutrino physics and I'm currently on my way to graduate school. Reopening Fermilab would allow other aspiring physicists to dream big and fuel their inspiration, just like it did to me when I first visited. "
"I now have to drive to the next closest credit union to do my banking business, an extra one and a half hour of driving!! "
"In the past, I used to bring many of my friends, neighbors and relatives to the Fermilab sight to show and be a tour guide. Many young kids were very exited and ask interesting questions, take pictures with high rise. When they go back they used to share their experience at Fermilab. It really helped many to pursue science and curious to learn about big science. Now, because of restrictions I can not do this any more. Hope the lab will be opened to public soon."
"I cannot imagine that this wonderful oasis of calm, of wildlife and nature, of birds and coyotes and squirrels and flowers and nature walks, is no longer available to the wider community. I used to love taking walks or cycling across the site, enjoying a calm respite from the noise and chaos and traffic of the suburban roads. Such a shame that the public is no longer welcome at this educational campus of learning, a site that has no classified information whatsoever. Fermilab should be divorced from Department of Energy, whence these rules come, and be re-created under the Department of Education, where it might be able to thrive without such restrictions. "
"I visited FermiLab as an undergraduate student in the 1970’s. The place and facility had a huge impact on growing and broadening my interest in what became my career. I visited FermiLab several times during my career, and I believe it is a beacon for appreciation of science for certainly the northern Illinois community but also the nation. I support reasonable public access to this world-class laboratory. "
"Grew up living on property until my parents moved their house into town in 1968. Fished there often and see no reason for not allowing fishing. Must be a terrible threat!!"
"I have been a docent at Fermilab for the last six years (and still am although we are now called educational facilitators). It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. There is nothing like seeing kids from 6 through college realize for the first time in their lives that science can be amazing Yet I witnessed that virtually every time I came to work. Since we reopened from COVID, we have witnessed a multitude of changing rules that all seem to be more mean spirited than they are to protect the security of the lab or safety of people. We are robbing thousands of young people from all backgrounds an experience that literally can give them direction in life. That inspires the next generation of scientists. To me, this is the real crime of what is going on. Why can't a high school student enter Wilson Hall for example? I keep hearing that we are trying things to see how they work out yet we have 50 years of experience seeing how they work out. I know the science comes before the public outreach. Nobody disagrees with that. But if anyone thinks these new rules will not have a negative impact on the science, they are kidding themselves. Fermilab is amazing because of the pride that everyone has in it. If you can't even bring your kid there to instill your love of science in them, if your spouse gets turned away at the gate because they made the mistake of saying they are picking you up and might pull into the Wilson Hall parking lot, your pride in the lab dies. It is no longer a place you love, merely a place you work.. We are not the same as some of the other National Labs. We never have been. We should not be lumped in with them."
"I joined Fermilab in 1969 and left for the Supercollider in 1989. My 20 Fermilab years were wonderful with so much excitement and innovation from an energized staff and world class leadership. I have a 1000+ memories scattered all over the site from the Village and all over up and down each experimental area and inside every part of the accelerator. Many of my peers are gone now and I would love to retrace my steps of the 20 years I worked and contributed to Fermilab. Having an open site was an imperative of past leadership that led to a unique and trusting relationship with the surrounding communities. The total openness of past decades cannot be restored; it's a different era now but locking Fermilab down as if it were Los Alamos is pointless and not in the best interest of the laboratory, the science, and the community."
"Fermilab has been the best advertisement to the general public for basic research the scientific community has. That it has to shut down because proprietary private R&D is going on, it is basically theft from the taxpayers that support it. Keep it open. "
"From the earliest days, Wilson recognized the importance of being a partner in the Fox Valley community, building the trust of our surrounding towns and being a good neighbor. That meant opening the doors and not just allowing, but proactively inviting the public. My role in nurturing this relationship was serving as manager the Arts & Lecture Series from 1989 to 2023. Along with our staff and the Auditorium Committee, we typically welcomed more than 10,000 people to the lab each year through live lectures and performing arts. Our mission in part was to represent and celebrate the vibrant international community of Fermilab through the arts, something that has been silenced and moving forward seems almost impossible with the current restrictions. I am very sad to move on - I still believe strongly in not only the Fermilab mission, but the community, the lab culture that has made Fermilab a place like no other. Facilitating the power of live performance or talks, sharing these experiences with 800+ other people in Ramsey Auditorium regularly created an exciting and unifying experience that now seems a distant memory. Creativity celebrated, ideas shared, conversation and discussion encouraged. I very much miss the Fermilab that paused three years ago, and hope that this effort gets the attention of those who can reverse this tragic change in culture. "
"I have not ever been there. I am from Massachusetts My father a WWI US Navy his vet moved us to Illinois three times. the scrap metal from his aircraft carrier the USS Bunker Hill CV-17 is part of Fermilab. Thus Fermilab is a place of education, history and learning. i would hate for public access to Fermilab be squashed thus keep the public in any from accessing the place"
"I live very close to Fermilab and the people in my neighborhood are very aware of the lab and know that it is now closed to the public. They don't understand why and I am embarrassed to tell them that it is because of a hired gun site manager who does not understand the science we do, the way we collaborate to do that science, Fermilab's history or culture. He's just there to check some boxes, claim he fixed a bunch of things and then move on to another lab. I now tell people I work for the University of Chicago (the University that manages and operates the lab, but doesn't get to make the rules.) "
"I’ve been a tour guide at Fermilab for 22 years. The enthusiasm and gratitude of the thousands of visitors I’ve shown around the lab are vivid in my memory: senior citizen groups, happily surprised and visibly proud to learn their tax dollars are used well here (how often do you encounter taxpayers happy about where their tax dollars go?); college and university groups excited to visit this historic place; high school students inspired to discover that physics in real life is much more exciting than what’s in textbooks; and, in some ways best of all, middle school students for whom the words “laboratory” and “scientist” take on an exciting new meaning after they get to ask real scientists their questions about black holes and such. Teachers tell us—and thank you notes and drawings from students confirm it—that these visits leave strong marks in the kids’ imaginations. Then there are the many complete strangers I meet around town who notice my Fermilab shirt and stop to comment on how much they love visiting the site to walk around the prairie or attend talks and concerts. (These days they all ask, “When will the lab open again?”) Fermilab is a gem that the DOE should be showing off proudly. Instead, the lab is being put in a locked box. And inside that box, lots of other little locked boxes which make it harder for us to do the jobs we’ve been hired to do. What a huge mistake. It inhibits work and collaboration and sparks negativity that’s never been present before. This overblown lockdown is not necessary. There’s nothing in the public areas that needs hiding. Please allow the lab to open again so the public can enjoy it."
"I've also arranged for scientific visitors to fly in to get some work done at the lab, but we've had to change plans and work from Starbucks instead (twice). When the whole point is face-to-face collaboration, Zooming from a coffeeshop negates the whole point of the trip. Looking at these other testimonials, I see that this situation is not even uncommon."
"I brought my kids to open activities and was looking forward to bringing thr grandkids. WE are so lucky to have you in our community"
"I gave a colloquium April 19 at FNAL and approval for my admission on-site was not processed on time. I waited at the gate for access, and Director Merminga had to make a phone call so that I would be allowed on site. I was at FNAL just 3 weeks before for the P5 town hall meeting. Why couldn't they save my information as a frequent visitor? Perhaps it's because during the P5 town hall, it was noticed that I had been given the wrong color of badge. Took the guard at Wilson Hall 30 minutes to give me a badge of the correct color - meanwhile I had missed the start of the P5 meeting that day."
"I have been actively dancing at Fermi for many years. I have attended various programs I have biked the grounds and taken my dogs for lovely walks. I love to see the bison herd, especially the babies in springtime. I want to be able to all of these again. Please reopen Fermi."
"Science is enabled by the free exchange of people and their ideas. The new, extremely cumbersome access restrictions won’t prevent the lab from doing science, but it will certainly make it worse at doing so because of the chilling effect that it creates on scientific collaboration and interactions. Case in point: When I have a choice between hosting collaborators for meetings at Fermilab or elsewhere, I often take a pass on Fermilab because it is simply too inconvenient for outsiders to deal with. How many ideas will not exist because the access rules deterred in-person collaboration at Fermilab?"
"As a kid I grew up just across the road from Feemilab, a subdivision just on the other side of Kirk Road. We would bike, hike and fish at Fermilab. It was relatively open and we would visit Wilson Hall and take our dogs to the dog field. My mother worked at Fermilab as did several friends and neighbors. It was a great place to bike with low traffic and bike trails. It was a great area like a forest preserve that happened to have a working lab on it. Over the years the restrictions have limited the use and really changed the way it was looked at and used by the community. It is sad to see it go from an open area to that more like a military base."
"I served on a citizens committee reviewing the potential area issues of Fermilab proposing and building the International Linear Collider (ILC) back in 2007-2008 (18 months). Monthly meetings and various lab tours with other area citizens and Fermi staff and scientists and assisting formulating and writing a final report of recommendations. I was honored to serve and was treated very well by all. It’s a shame that when visiting the grounds that I can’t just go where most of the roads can take me like I used to do to see various natural areas and wildlife. As a past “patron” with much respect for the purpose and work that the lab does, having a special access pass would be very valued and respected and honored. Thank you. Brett "
"Society progress because of science "
"I got my first Fermilab badge, as a user, in 1988. Over the next 30+ years I participated in half a dozen, multi-year experiments. I worked in other labs, on both coasts and in Europe, but I always considered Fermilab my base to come back to, and even after I got a faculty job far away I kept my residence in the west Chicago suburbs and I always thought of the lab as a second home. But things changed dramatically over the last few years. When the lab closed during the pandemic, I fully expected to be back in a few months, or maybe a year. No longer. I am supervising a student remotely, in Zoomland, helping him finish his degree on a Fermilab experiment, after which I will never again have another student in the lab. Fermilab used to be a users lab. It does not know what it is now. I don't expect ever to set foot on site again, as a user, visitor, or in any other capacity."
"I was a grad student at U of MN in 2007-2008 working on the NOvA neutrino oscillation experiment which relied on neutrinos from Fermilab. I also worked on the MINOS neutrino experiment which also relied on a beam from Fermilab in 2002 or 2003. I have visited Fermilab twice, once as a teenager and once a few years ago, just to look around. As a teenager I got to see some of the science. Fermilab is an inspiring place and my experience in the field of particle physics and later general relativity continues to inspire curiousity, now that I am outside of academia, for quantum gravity. I keep in touch with all of my former fields— cosmology, exoplanets, particle physics, and gravitational waves/numerical relativity. Fermilab is an important asset to the US particle physics community, especially historically, but even currently, and it is important both that international collaborations can continue to work together in physics and that the public can appreciate the results of science. "
"Nice place to take the kids. They enjoyed seeing the buffalo, fishing, and the top floor of Wilson Hall was also very interesting. It should definitely be open to the public."
"My visit to the Fermilab including the tunnel as an undergraduate student has been an integral part of my decision to pursue a PhD in Particle Physics. This fantastic opportunity shoulder be available for future generations. "
"As an undergraduate in the 1980's I worked several summers at Fermilab. Open access to facilities, personnel, and meetings across all Fermilab facilities - not just experimental halls, but also the shops, control rooms, and meeting rooms - was essential to the broad-ranging cross-specialty collaboration that open science demands."
"I have lived “across the road” from Fermilab for over 30 years. During the summer months, Fermilab has always been my favorite place to bike, hike and walk the dog. It’s a wonderful place to slow down and appreciate nature. Each summer season, I have enjoyed the feeling of being able to ride longer distances as I got back into shape. The first Fermi ride was only from one end and back (sadly this is the only route available right now with the restrictions). But soon I would be able to add the side path out to Eola that took me past the horses grazing in the fields and almost out to Butterfield. I love imagining the first settlers in the area and how they lived in those old farmhouses. After a few more weeks, I would add the north road loop that took me almost back out to Kirk, always praying that the wind from the west wouldn’t be too bad. By the end of the summer, I would have increased my rides from a short 9 miles to almost 18 (on a good wind day). Please allow full road access to the public again."
"I have been working on Fermilab experiments for over 20 years. As a user, then employee, and then user again. I have given dozens of tours to local kids and others from the community. The history, science, and beauty should be used to inspire the STEM workforce and encourage future support of our science. Fermilab is a place that inspires awe, and that should be a core goal of the lab. "
"Fermilab has been a community treasure as well as a treasure within the scientific community. I have memories of the prairie at Fermi and how it inspired our friends and family, who we would often take for a visit there, no matter the season. During the prairie visits, our conversations often turned to what Fermilab was about and we came to believe that beauty and science could be woven together and could inspire the young, and the old in the surrounding communities, as well as visitors from outside the immediate area. At Fermilab, neighbors were encouraged to visit, to learn, and to be inspired. The buffalo, the art, the prairie, the lectures, the music performances -all of that engaged people and over time lead to an appreciation for and better understanding of the science done at the lab.. Yes, Fermilab has been both a community and scientific treasure and our sincere hope is it that it will continue to be well into the future."
"I miss the live lectures at the Wilson Hall auditorium. Used to go regularly with friends and they were great. Stuff i wouldn't learn about anywhere else. I also like riding my bike through the property. "
"It is beyond arrogant to require RealID when the rest of Federal Government does not. When visiting the White House or Capitol, a visitor is not required to have a RealID, so why does the FermiLab think they are far more important than that??"
"For over 10 years, my wife and I have had the pleasure and good fortune to travel through Fermilab on our bicycles, witnessing first hand the melding of science, technology and nature up close. It is an absolute travesty that access is being limited. Please reopen the facility"
"In the 90’s I have memories of going to see movies at Fermilab. There would be a reception upstairs in the art gallery after the movies. In the mid 2000’s I used to go to the barn dances with live music. I miss being able to enjoy these activities and more at Fermilab. Please reopen Fermilab to the community! "
"Contradancing at the Barn at Fermilab was my favorite place to dance in the years I studied at NIU (86-88) The bonds of friendship in the folk music community forged there draw me back to the Fox Valley yearly, despite living in Ohio. The barn is such an ideal dance spot!"
"FermiLab is an oasis in a sea of suburban sprawl. Reopen the lab so people can come out, relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the lab and the science that is done there"
"We tried to bring family to visit and ran into discouraging beaurocracy. I have worked and visited Fermilab since 1974 and I found the new obstacles to visiting shocking and discouraging. Why the change? "
"I visited Fermilab as an elementary school child, because I have family who live nearby. Even at that young age, I was incredibly impressed by the facility and the science that went on there. I'm grateful that I was able to visit, and would like for other people to also have that opportunity, not to mention the researchers and students who clearly need access. I have since gone on to have a career in science (chemistry, specifically), and I work at Sandia National Laboratories now, and have colleagues and friends who need to utilize Fermilab. I hope that a reasonable solution can be reached to ensure that all parties who can benefit from access to Fermilab, whether young kids, as I was, or established scientists, can continue to access its unique facilities."
"Students have come to Fermilab on field trips ever since the education program began. Many years ago I met a scientist visiting from SLAC who told me that no other lab does near as good a job to inspire future scientist as Fermilab. First graders are brought to the lab to not only study the insect world that they are so curious about but to question what we do in that “big building”. The seed is planted. By second grade they come not only to study the beautiful outdoors but to study matter, light, electromagnetism, force and motion and much more using hands on activities. By the time they reach junior high, high school, and beyond, they continue enjoying the outdoors and hands on activities and are also invited to see up close what Fermilab does. Unfortunately that experience has been greatly diminished since the LINAC accelerator complex and fifteenth floor of Wilson Hall are off limits to the public. The latest restrictions put all these programs in jeopardy. If the teachers or chaperones don’t have certain enhanced documentation, these groups will not be aloud on site. That seed that should have been planted in our young scientists may never get planted or wither from lack of opportunity. Working for the Fermilab education office for over twenty-five years before retiring and being given the opportunity to inspire future scientists was a great privilege. Are the benefits of the restrictions put on access to the lab, worth the benefits that are lost? "
"I remember when Fermilab was open and it was a special place for families to visit. . I waited until our children were old enough to visit and sadly this opportunity is no longer available. We are a neighbors with Femilab and each time we pass our children ask when they can go and visit which occur almost daily. Generations have had the opportunity to enrich and make memories there and it's a shame that we will not be able to do the same. I implore lawmakers to bring back transparency and open the facility back up to the public. While I rnhoy the updates on the new spring calving season and posts to the public on their successes,it's disheartening that we cannot visit ourselves. "
"As a child of a Fermilab employee, visiting the lab was a memorable part of my childhood. I was inspired by the exhibits in Wilson Hall and awed by the huge experimental setups- and of course I loved seeing the bison too! Visiting Fermilab regularly, and later having the opportunity to spend two summers working in the lab, was a key part of the reason I decided to study the sciences in college and go on to pursue a PhD in chemistry. Seeing how much Fermilab employees loved research and how incredible the experimental process is- that's something that can only be achieved by going and visiting the lab. I hope that the lab reopens so that more children in the area can visit and be inspired to study science. "
"I am a cyclist who rides in the western suburbs. Closing Fermilab has forced me to reroute for miles on dangerous heavy traffic roads on my return trips home. This affects the entire cycling community! Reopening fermi I have no doubt will save lives in the long run! "
"I would also ask that retiree IDs continue to be issued and honored. Many people are proud of their time at the lab and wish to visit often. I have personally seen a retiree be told, in essence, they were no longer welcome, and was threatened with confiscation of their ID. Please, PLEASE reverse these actions and allow retirees the same access as was available prior to 2020"
"My five grown children all remember, with fondness, the rides through fermilab to see the Bison. I now have grandchildren and would love to have that experience with them. Reopen Fermilab!"
"Fermilab employed our daughter as a science writer and for a time she even lived on campus. We met writers, scientists and engineers, toured the amazing facilities, saw the bison, participated in international dancing, and enjoyed the peaceful grounds; we were proud of the cooperative nature of Fermilab and the science done there. We have gained many friends from her time at Fermilab. The enrichment and sense of community is so obviously harmed by a closed campus."
"I visited Fermi frequently with my Father when I was a child. Whether this was for some event like "Mr. Freeze and his amazing Cryo Show" or a demonstration by the fire department, or simply just spending the day with him at work - I look upon these times fondly. Now I can't even get past the gate to take my dad out for lunch. Fermilab used to serve as a cornerstone of the community that sought to make the science done on it's campus understood and appreciated by the public. Now it's looked upon as an ominous 6,800 acre government facility dealing with what the public views as dangerous forces. "
"Fermi lab is a great east west connection and could be a wonderful north south treat if it would connect to both sides of the DuPage Technology corridor."
"I am a registered nurse. I love science and I believe in it. What started as COVID shutdowns has gotten wildly out of control. 2 weeks has turned into 3 years. When my children were babies I would drive them through the grounds so they would nap and I could see the beauty of the local area. The flora and fauna. I tried multiple times the last three years to do just that. And have been turned away. It’s enough. The calves are so sweet and I want to show my children without needing to drive out West. We don’t mean any harm. I want to bring them to programs that I went to at Fermilab as a kid. To stoke their interest in science like mine was. So many experiences have been taken from my children the last 3 years. They’ve been taken from all our children. Our future is at stake. Our kids ARE the future. They aren’t being included. It is wrong. We will look back on this in the future and see the mistake. Please reconsider immediately. There is hope. "
"My wife and I spent many happy Sunday afternoons dancing with friends at Kuhn Barn. We were very sad when we learned this was coming to an end, another unnecessary "death" resulting from the Pandemic."
"Spent some time there pre pandemic. So amazing and so much to still learn. Science and research is so important. Also exciting to see the bison 🦬 that live on the grounds. "
"I have visited Fermilab's scintillator facility in my career as an instrumentation engineer, but years prior to that, I was driven there from Madison by a family friend to collect prairie seeds. Seeing that facility sharing habitat so elegantly is truly inspirational to a visitor and serves as an important world-class example of a "shared habitat"."
"For many years, WGN Meteorologist, Tom Skilling, gave weather seminars there that were open to the public. And in 2012, I was a member of a tour of the facilities which included many areas not normally open to the public. I cannot believe anything has changed to preclude public access to the grounds."
"While I identified myself as an "active user" when signing this letter, my current level of activity at Fermilab is minimal. In the past, I was highly engaged, spending a considerable amount of time at the lab, even during the semesters when I was teaching. However, over the last two years, I have chosen to transfer most of my program to a different DOE laboratory, where my group is warmly received, and we can make significant scientific contributions. I remain a member of DUNE, which is why I selected “active user”. But, in all honesty, the considerable difficulties in working at Fermilab have led to only cosmetic engagement. This exclusionary behavior, both physical and intellectual, is self-defeating for a lab with a project that is $2.5B over budget and desperately needs all hands (even user’s hands!) on deck to make DUNE succeed."
"I was fortunate enough to work at the Lederman Science Center and teach for Friends of Fermi programs for more than 20 years. Feeling welcomed and supported by staff, and scientists alike, not to mention the Directors fostered an air of significance and importance to the teachers we served through our programs. Taking my children and grandchildren to the high rise Atrium, going up the elevators to the 15th floor to look out on the complex and view the exhibits motivated my own children and countless other students and teachers throughout the years. What a travesty that the current administration doesn’t understand and value the public outreach that Fermilab has had over the years. Tighter, more restrictive government control of everything in our lives as taxpayers and citizens seems to be so tacitly accepted these days. There was a pride at Fermilab to welcome and educate visitors. How sad that that goal has vanished for whatever reason. "
"I did my much of the research for my Ph.D. at Fermilab in the early 2000's and one of the things that impressed me about the lab at that time was how wonderful an ambassador the laboratory was in representing both science and the Department of Energy to the general community. My friends and family in the area all visited. Even the ones who weren't necessarily interested in the details of the physics loved the exhibits in the main building, the restored prairie areas, and of course the buffalo. This relationship was one of the great assets of Fermilab, not every national lab I worked at had the same kind of relationship with the surrounding community. I strongly encourage the lab management to value that relationship to the general public and allow it to continue."
"My daughter was given a science award and was hosted at a recognition dinner at Fermilab and was able to meet researchers there. It helped her continue in STEM and she is now a chemical engineer working in the EV industry. Having Fermilab be a open and supportive member of the community strengthens the STEM educations of our children and we are thankful of that."
"Apparently no one knows what brought on the change in security. I assumed it was from COVID, but reading the notes from employees it appears there is something else going on. We do miss open access, but if it's Fermi's property, they have the right to control access. An explanation from them would be appropriate. "
"We have been to many lectures and performances that have broadened our understanding of people and cultures. We love going to Fermi Lectures- they are wonderful and excellent quality. Please bring them back! "
"Growing up Fermilab was a huge part of my life. It started at the daycare/preschool then to summer camps through middle school. There have been so many family adventures including hiking, picking apples/pears, scavenging for different bugs/wildlife, seeing the buffalo, and our favorite the swimming pool! These traditions need to be carried on! Let us back in <3 "
"In a recent meeting, a DOE representative stated that ALL National Laboratories are going this route because they are afraid of losing their intellectual property. When I asked what he meant he replied that "someone could take a phone with a camera in the Hi-Rise and take a picture of some sensitive information on someone's desk." I informed him that we have between 2000 and 3000 foreign users. There was a long silence and then he said, "I guess that's why you're different." So why are we being forced into a nuke facility security? "
"A disabled lady who works in the Hi-Rise had to get something from her office. Her husband drove her in but because he did not have an I.D. he had to wait in the car. Due to a medical condition he had, he needed to use the restroom. He asked the guard and was denied access! He would have walked 50 feet down the hall and would have been in full view of the guard until he stepped into the men's room."
"I have found the grounds and especially the bison, a wonderful reason visit. I would never want Fermilab in danger, but other than that I really wish people could enjoy what the property has to offer without stringent requirements. Thank you. Joni Holinger, Wayne, Illinois. "
"The beauty of the land, the bike paths, the BUFFALO! This has been my spring/summer/autumn outing for over 30 years! Let us come back in, please."
"I have biked and run in Fermilab to train for triathlons for about 20 years! It provides a great safe space for cyclists, with places to stop for water, and there's nothing like it anywhere in the Chicago area. For all the times I've biked in there, it's never CROWDED with cyclists or runners or fishermen or other joggers--it's people enjoying the beautiful setting where we can see turtles, coyotes, bison and assorted other wildlife. We don't take anything away from the grounds."
"Loved riding to, in and around Fermi on the roads. Beautiful, felt safe, and very very sad you can only ride on 1 main road, in and out. Do not understand why cyclists and walkers can not go on other roads with the beautiful land all around on quiet, safe roads. Very sad. "
"During a visit to FNAL in 2022 I experienced first the complicated forms I needed to fill in first, some weeks before the meeting. At various places these forms did not wok for me as a foreign scientist and I needed help with them from the users office. During the visit it was annoying that I always had to wait for someone - whom I often did not know - to accompany me into the building. I was told that this all was due to DOE regulations, but that cannot be the whole story: during that same trip to the US I later on visited LBL Berkeley, also a DOE lab, where there was no real problem getting into the lab: just a simple form to fill in, essentially immediate reply with an access permit and no further problems. So, most of the problems at Fermilab are home-made, not DOE made."
"Some of the most wonderful years I spent as Fermilab user. During that time I visited labs that are not open, and while I could enter eventually, as an immigrant I always had to fill many forms and submit many documents. Fermilab was just open. I could enter freely last time I visited in 2016 just with my passport. I could move freely and access all the buildings that did not need a badge. Before, while I was still there, thanks to the fact that lab was open and accessible my husband could come and enjoy in various social events, from playing some sports to common gatherings. I could show area and what we do to some of my friends and journalists from my country. During that time there was no single incident that I was aware of which included general public. No one just randomly wandered to our work area. Local community members were just using it as they would use national park or museum. Please Reopen Fermilab. "
"When I chose a position at Fermilab some years ago it was in part because the lab had a culture and community. I wanted to raise my family in and felt supported in doing so. That is no longer the case. While my children do attend the on-site daycare (with an outstanding staff) I no longer feel like the lab supports that aspect of life. If I forget something on my desk when picking them up they are not welcome even briefly into the building, let alone actually being able to show them around. I know people who have been turned away from getting to the ATM right inside the door with a baby. There is no daughters and sons at work day anymore. I cannot bring them to the users center to socialize or to the barn for events like Festa Italiana anymore. There is no longer Mr Freeze, open houses, and other cultural events. I want to immerse my children in what was the wonderful culture of those facility and share my world with them and that is no longer possible. It is a shame and I think cutting out this aspect of what made Fermi life special is detrimental to the science mission. "
"The recent changes at Fermilab are all caused by the Site Office, whose role is to interpret how DOE policies should apply to the lab. The leadership of the Site Office changed during Covid, and the new manager seems to delight in applying the most extreme interpretations of every regulation. Here are some examples: * Dogs were banned on site because they might "pollute" the site with "toxic waste". (They are now allowed on site only in certain areas and only on leashes after a specific outcry about this issue. For those who are unaware, we previously had a dog training park for public use.) * Fishing is now banned on site because of the slightest possibility that someone might consume a fish that was contaminated somehow. (Fishing on site was always catch-and-release only.) * Families of scientists are generally not allowed on site. Among other things, this has led to the indefinite suspension of family support groups, which were an essential resource for researchers, their spouses, children, parents, etc., especially those who had newly arrived to the lab. * The Fermilab pool will not be reopened because it is "not critical to the mission of the lab", which led to the canceling of summer day camp this year, because of a lack of activities for kids. * A school bus full of children coming for a tour was turned away at the gate because of one improperly-filled permission slip. * A prominent researcher from another (international) lab was turned away at the gate because of an error by a US customs official on an immigration form, and forced to lead an ongoing conference at the lab from his hotel room via Zoom. * New experiments at the lab are now being delayed from starting because of the arbitrary and capricious restrictions and requirements imposed before they can operate. These incidents are just a sampling. The conduct of the Site Office has create a general culture of fear and helplessness at the lab and a sense that people are no longer welcome here. The underlying issue seems to be that the Site Office does not understand or care about the actual mission of the lab. Nobody at the Site Office gets a raise, a promotion, or even recognition for enabling science to occur. Rather, it seems that they are rewarded only for preventing things from happening. Fermilab conducts basic scientific research and publicly disseminates the results. No activity at the lab is restricted by a government security clearance. In my view, it is the Site Office that is not only not critical to the mission of the lab, but actively interfering with it. For Fermilab to be successful, we need the support of the local community and the scientific community. If the Site Office accomplishes their apparent goal of convincing the local community that Fermilab is an especially dangerous place, our ability to launch new experiments will be in jeopardy. (Would you want something so dangerous in your backyard?) And by driving away the scientific community, we will no longer be able to assemble the large collaborations that we need to build and operate our experiments. Further, I'm not aware of the DOE providing any additional funding to implement all of the new restrictions and security policies - therefore the lab must spend its existing budget on these (mostly pointless if not actively harmful) things, rather than on science. A change is desperately needed for the continued viability of the lab."
"Some suspect that the recent severe security regulations are prompted in part by the presence of the new Quantum Computing Center (this technology admittedly having national security implications). So let's take the money planned for building a new "Visitor's Center" and fencing off the whole 6800 acre site, and build a quantum computing research facility in an isolated location, such as the South end of Eola Road. Then put a fence and guards around THAT. Secret research does not belong at Fermilab."
"We live just down the block from Fermilab and have enjoyed riding our bikes through Fermi for years. My husband’s great aunt’s farm was on that land and her barn is still there with the family name on it and her home where they played as kids is still there but we are no longer allowed to ride over there. We could ride through fermi for hours and not have to worry about traffic. Now we have to stay on the main road and we are not allowed to go out and explore all the wonders that Femilab has to offer"
"I'm a professor at MIT, working in theoretical particle physics and astrophysics. Prior to the pandemic, I visited my colleagues and collaborators at Fermilab on many occasions, starting from when I was a grad student, and in time I was invited to join the Fermilab Distinguished Scholars Program as a faculty member. I always found it to be a wonderfully energetic, free-wheeling, open environment for research and collaboration in theoretical (astro)physics; I always came away from my visits with many new and exciting ideas. I also really enjoyed the opportunity to walk around the beautiful campus and see the bison herd. I haven't been back to Fermilab post-pandemic, but I'm very saddened to hear about these developments, and I hope something can be done to make it right and restore the exciting, collaborative, insight-generating environment that I remember. "
"Loved sketching at Fermilab! Bring the opportunity back. Please!!"
"I think it’s absolutely detrimental to the laboratory that retired workers who have spent 30+ years of service cannot even enter the lab to assist with projects they previously worked on or be issued retirement IDs and take a little pride in the contributions they made. This is a bad image for the lab, it’s the neighbors, and those who have made significant contributions to the Scientific Community. I can understand increasing security posture and asking for Real IDs, that’s being responsible. But to deny entry to previous employees or scientist doesn’t send a positive message to those who previously worked here and to the public. Be careful what you wish for, you give a negative image to the neighboring communities they will start complaining to the politicians and Fermilab will be looked down upon. All it takes is a bad Presidential Administration (like the current one) to axe funding or operations. We didn’t even have these issues with the previous administration which everyone was so against, and now look at what’s going on."
"I am a tour guide (education facilitator/docent) at the lab. Telling people of all ages about the lab and teaching them about science has been a wonderful and rewarding experience. Visitors would rave about their trip to Fermilab. And I made a point of asking employees if they were happy in their jobs. They all said yes and had wonderful stories to tell. The atmosphere of the lab has changed significantly since I started 4 years ago. Now employees answer, "My job is great - the atmosphere we work in is not." And there are so many stories of disappointed visitors, some groups of students who had been given access and were turned away at the gate. Instead of fostering science education, the lab is now fostering disappointment. To disappoint students and other visitors like this is a tragedy. And the rules we who give tours have to deal with are crazy. The official rule is college students can visit Wilson Hall but high school students cannot. But high school age students from other countries have been allowed into Wilson. What does that say? I have been visiting the lab for decades and have always enjoyed the opportunity to visit such an amazing place. Working there has been a joy. It still is, but it is laced with frustration when I have to tell people where they can't go. Whoever is responsible for the current state of exclusion is doing a huge disservice to the community and every employee who used to be proud of working at Fermilab."
"Being able to go in and fish the lake/ponds was fun for myself or with friends. The wildlife abounds in this area that all show be able to enjoy. "
"I have worked at Fermilab for 40 years. What a special place this used to be -- a very unique feel and inspiration to the community as well as outside visitors. Fermilab's culture exemplified the openness of science. I've had my dream career here. I can say that things are very different now, the vibe is gone, the bureaucracy has invaded, and the inspiration has been flattened. What a loss to the community. I can only imagine how shocked and disappointed Bob Wilson (the first lab director and inspiration for its unique character) would be if he saw what is happening. Please, let's not let the bureaucracy destroy this jewel."
"Love and trust are two essential components of our relationship to the stakeholder and community. However, trust can only be achieved through transparency. Transparency in a relationship means being open. Being honest and open to the public has been Fermilab's constituency and fundamental to the growth and development with our partners, and our neighborhood. We create an environment of mutual respect, trust, and understanding, in the words of Enrico Fermi: “Scientific thinking and invention flourish best where people are allowed to communicate as much as possible unhampered”"
"If we want the public to be on the side of science, we have to tear down these artificial barriers ourselves. "
"As a member of the Naperville Astronomical Association, we have done outreach events at Fermilab attended by hundreds of people. It would be a shame if the public, most of whom have never looked through a telescope, were denied that opportunity."
"A number of things that fostered community both with Fermilab and with the User community have been cancelled: Playgroup (this was an essential part of having a family at the lab and we have users coming in who would greatly benefit from having their spouse and kid(s) have less isolation) DOE mile race participation (other labs get to participate) Walk2Run Lab health day (presumably cancelled? I'm not sure) FNAL Leagues and Clubs Fishing Onsite Father's Day fishing competition Yoga as one of the onsite classes Take your child to work day Family allowed escorted at the User's Center I and many of my colleagues have gotten to know people from other departments, divisions, etc. and this has greatly improved our ability to do research, and work in a healthy and productive community. Fermilab no longer seems like a reasonable place to work or collaborate. In addition many Users have just given up on coming to site due to the onerous access restrictions. Users are not told directly that there are country restrictions for access, leaving renewal applications open with no news for months at a time, and sudden loss of access to collaboration and data. Many Fermilab folks are spending additional time away from doing their regular job providing additional security, assistance in getting accounts/renewed, discussing how these procedures impact us. Just think how much more productive we could be if Fermilab was more open. "
"Visited Fermilab in the early 200x's and was inspired and proud. I now mentor the engineers of the future, and feel sad that Fermilab is denying access to others (to be inspired). "
" One of the hardest parts of my retirement from the lab was learning that the lab would no longer welcome me and my husband on site at all, without jumping through hoops, or required escort after our four decades of service."
"Science is the world's common language. We need to share it with the public, not hide it."
"I am a child of a Fermilab Employee. The day I was born is noted in one of the hand written log books in the main control room. That is the kind of family the lab was, where your co-workers note the birth of child in a log next to other log entries about daily operations. I used to get to come in on shifts with my Dad during the summer and sit in the control room with all the computer monitors and beeps and blips and dials and buttons everywhere, what an inspiring place to bring a kid. I grew up with other Fermilab kids and their families, and it was only a matter of time before some of us decided to make a career at Fermilab. In my 24 some years as an employee I really claim I've been here 44 years, and I have the log entry to prove it. I have lived, breathed and bled Fermilab my whole life, and have always took so much pride in what I do and what I represent. But now, in this new culture, I am sad and worried about the future of my beloved lab. I no longer wish to tell people about where I work because I can't tell them that they can come see us anymore. How am I supposed to send the message that what we do here is safe and not a threat to society if I have to tell them they aren't allowed on site? I have to make excuses for unreasonable security precautions and I'm tired of it. I would rather just not tell people I work here anymore and that really makes me sad."
"Fermilab has always been more than just a science lab. When I was a post-doc there, the lab took great pride in talking of Robert Wilson's vision that lab be a place where science, art and humanity all joined together as one. It was where old pieces of the accelerator became new pieces of art. It is a shame that lab seems to have lost that view. I fear that, in long run, that loss will harm the lab."
"I watched Fermilab get built, and have been a neighbor ever since. Fermilab has always made publicly-funded science a positive, exciting thing; sharing the value of scientific discovery with the citizenry who support it. This move is a 180° shift from that; government science becoming a secretive, scary, military thing like it was back in the 1950s. That is an utterly misguided move."
"I live within half a mile of Fermilab. When I retired five years ago I moved from Downers Grove to Batavia because it had the best biking in the region offering both Fermilab and the Fox River Trail. Biking is important to me as it is my primary hobby and is key to my mental and physical health and well being. I sincerely miss the former access that bike enthusiasts had to Fermilab. However, the one road access we have now is definitely better than no access, but not near as good as the extensive access we had before. I am hopeful that the wonderful campus of Fermilab will revert to its former level of access in the near future."
"I first came to Fermilab as a graduate student in the 1980s. I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago, and therefore a member of the general public as far as Fermilab was concerned. Like many people who came to Fermilab for the first time, I was impressed by the vision of openness and scientific innovation embodied in the Fermilab tower. Over the years, I have been to many workshops and scientific events at Fermilab. Although I personally am not directly affected by the restrictions on access by the general public, I strongly agree with the letter that open access is an important part of the wider impact of Fermilab."
"I remember going to visit the bison with co-workers before the area was double fenced. You could get right up to the fence. We thought it would be a good idea to try feeding them. A large male took exception to our closeness and charged the fence. I never thought I could move so fast."
"I am part of a community which wanders the natural areas of Fermilab documenting wildlife and enjoying the amazing restoration work. The natural areas are every bit as much an important experiment as the physics carried out. The lessons learned from continuing Dr. Betz's groundbreaking work are shared worldwide. There are very few places as large as Fermilab remaining which can teach about nature in these outdoor laboratories. Cutting the public off, whether trained, amateur or casual is a huge mistake. "
"Over the years I have done many beneficial field trips to Fermilab with students of all ages elementary thru college). It opens their eyes to many science related concepts. I also volunteer in the natural areas. Fermilab has been significant resource for our students & parents. "
"FNAL does ground-breaking fundamental particle physics, as well as world-leading R&D for areas of intense national interest, including cutting-edge technologies for quantum sensing and high-efficiency particle acceleration. I appreciate the need to safeguard national security and industrial secrets. However, cutting-edge physics and technology is not at all new to FNAL, and, given the lack of major IP-related issues in the past at the lab, it would be my strong preference that DOE revert FNAL to its previous policy of open access for the community and for scientific users. There are clear and obvious scientific and community benefits to this open policy, but it has been cut off without any justification or explanation of well-defined benefits. If DOE decides instead to (understandably) pursue a permanent closed-access policy for FNAL in response to IP risks, it is absolutely critical that the lab address the array of obvious infrastructure shortcomings at FNAL that make such a policy currently untenable. In particular, a sensical definition is needed of which lab areas are 'open' (like the village or bison herd areas) and which are 'closed' (such as research areas and Wilson Hall), and even more importantly, a badging office must be implemented at the boundaries of the closed FNAL areas, rather than in an inaccessible location in the middle of a closed area. Other closed-access National Laboratories have identified clear and workable access plans for domestic and international scientists to perform their work. At present, FNAL's policies are far more dysfunctional and poorly executed than those at other closed-access National Laboratories (including the weapons labs, I might add). For the benefit of the entire international particle physics community, I would urge that open-access policies be re-instated until sensible, workable closed-access policies can be thoughtfully planned out and fully executed. "
"Almost 40 years ago when I first came to the Lab I asked why there was so litle security, the answer was "the cost of having security is much larger than replacing the almost nothing that get stolen". My reaction was, I came to Paradise, people here make decisions based on reason. Unfortunately, in many aspects of the Lab, that attitud is mostly gone, especially when it comes to security."
"I've been to Fermilab tours in the past and they were very enjoyable and informative. I also have been joining some of their online lectures since I am in southeast Michigan. I'd do the in person stuff if I were in the area, and hope to visit again in the future."
"We did a “Chase the Moon” ride through FermiLab’s campus and I remember the feeling of accomplishment I had from riding 25 miles in the middle of the evening. This experience couldn’t have happened anywhere else in the fox valley. It would be a shame if future generations didn’t have the same opportunity."
"When my children were younger we use to go watch the bison, take our dogs to the dog park, visit the science exhibits at the Lederman center, and look out from the 15th floor of Wilson Hall. Living in Batavia, it has always been a treasure of this community. What a shame that all the beauty and wonder has been to closed to the public. "
"I retired from Fermilab in 2019 after almost 34 years as an employee. When I joined Fermilab, I never imagined I would work there the rest of my working career. I was always proud of my time at Fermi, and thoroughly enjoyed the culture there and the many opportunities given to employees outside of work (hiking, gardening, photography, sports, concerts, films, …). These activities were part of what kept me at Fermi so long. And I looked forward to continuing to access these opportunities as a Fermi retiree. I have felt completely shut out by the new restrictions and the removal of access to retirees. I mourn the disintegration of the Fermilab culture which was always greater than just employees as it embraced the local community, users and retirees. This sense of belonging in science and the local culture was so attractive to me as a employee. I don’t think people realize how much it contributed to the success of Fermilab as a whole."
"The acquisition of new knowledge is meaningless if it is not made available to the public, especially to the next generation of scientists. Inspiring young minds is a fundamental part of the mission of science."
"As a retired employee i have been unable to visit my former working partners and unable to participate in my Fermilab sponsored club activities "
"I am a former Fermilab user and spouse. Before the closing to the public I enjoyed many activities at Fermilab including volunteering my time as a former scientist in outreach events, bringing my new non science colleagues for tours, participating in Fermilab family events and more. I am most saddened that my children have lost the great connection to the lab that they had in the pre-pandemic era."
"I worked at Fermilab for 53 years and I retired 6/16/22. I can no longer enter the site or even go to the credit union. I've witnessed the growth of the lab from when it was in the middle of nowhere to the only open space that isn't park district land. I always looked forward to getting my retirement badge (which no longer exists) and now I'm treated like an outcast. Fifty-three years means nothing. I can no longer share my history with my friends and family at Fermilab. This doesn't make sense. "
"I loved going to dance at the Kuhn Barn at Fermi for many years. I participated in the Scottish Country Dance, English Country Dance, International Folk Dance, and Contra Dance communities, and am sad that those groups are no longer welcome there. "
"When Fermilab was founded the Senate asked Robert Wilson whether Fermilab would have any strategic importance in defending the US against Russia. He answered: "Only from a long-range point of view, of a developing technology. Otherwise, it has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things that we really venerate and honor in our country and are patriotic about. In that sense, this new knowledge has all to do with honor and country but it has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to help make it worth defending." This quote summarizes one of the reasons the US scientific program is the best in the world. We had national labs doing groundbreaking science which was completely open to the public and visiting scientists. It was a model to the world that we could do the best science in the world and share that knowledge with anyone. I sincerely believe that this attitude is one which attracts the best scientists to come to America to study and it is the same attitude which makes these scientists want to stay and build a life in the US. The current attitude of Fermilab which is to throw up barriers to not only foreign visitors but even to US citizens gives the opposite impression and hurts the US image. It may seem like a very small inconvenience but these small hurdles will have long term impacts on the US science program. After going through the opaque and maddeningly confusing application process recently I have no desire to return to Fermilab. I can only imagine that the feeling is stronger for foreign visitors who wish to come visit for a short time."
"The point where a member of the P5 panel, who is a long term FNAL user, has to be personally escorted to the restroom by senior FNAL scientists because they weren't able to get a badging appointment should really have been the point where FNAL management question if their new policies are the best route to their strategic goals."
"As a teenager, I was able to visit Fermilab several time for school trips and scientific outings. Now in my late 40's I still have vivid memories of the facility and what I learned there. It help steer me in the direction of science for my schooling and beyond. Having visited was a highlight of my high school career and memories going forward."
"It was announced today that even Abri, the bank with an office within Wilson Hall, is opening an office outside Fermilab because their clients have hard time accessing it. The Laboratory is required and must meet security criteria for sensitive research, but I am confident that there are ways to get there without impacting the rest of the community, and I strongly hope that the Laboratory is working to determine and implement them."
"I have 4 daughters and they grew up with me taking them to visit Fermi Lab often. It was a place for me to share my love of science AND nature with them. I had hoped to take my future grandchildren here as a family tradition. Please reconsider these policy changes and continue being a leader in the community."
"I grew up in the Batavia apartments and we would ride bikes and go fishing in the ponds at Fermilab. We would go up to the floor where we could see what was being done. I’ve brought my kids there to see this as well. It is something that the local community enjoys to see what and how it was done. I remember being able to drive across Fermilab from the Wilson entrance to Eola to see family. Open up the land, let us fish, and see and learn all the wonders that are to be had. "
"A second testimonial... It doesn't have to be this way. I was recently at SLAC for the P5 Town Hall. It's also a DOE lab, but they have somehow managed to not go crazy with security. When I registered, I filled out a short access form in, which was immediately approved. When I drove in the gate, the guard checked my name on a list, after which I was allowed to enter the site, totally UNescorted. In cars with passengers, only the driver was checked. I have also confirmed that this is the same procedure used to bring non-official guests (e.g. family) on site."
"I worked at Fermilab for the better part of 40 years and witnessed the impact of the open site on the non-scientific community. I enjoyed the public lecture series at Fermilab and was impressed that the majority of attendees were not Fermilab employees, but people from the nearyby communities interested in the topics presented. Let's put some common sense in the Fermilab site accessibility and, in the wider view, the reality that we all inhabit this same fragile planet for a very limited time. "
"We used to have an annual fishing derby that the kids loved! Now that's been banned We used to have a beautiful garden club that provided food for local food banks. Now that's been banned. We used to have employees kids join them for lunch! Now that's been banned. We used to have the local communities come join Fermilab for music, art shows, performances, science lectures. Now that's been banned. Makes you wonder, and not in a good way."
"There are so many aspects of Fermilab's current malaise discussed here-- they all strike a chord. To pick one: for the past 10 years at least I have had undergraduate students resident at Fermilab during summers, either to work with me or with Fermilab scientists. The open and engaging atmosphere has been wonderful, until lately. Now it is dispiriting for all the reasons mentioned here. One that was particularly galling last year was a student that couldn't get their parents onsite to see the general areas and maybe their workplace. Only through tedious bureaucratic steps could they even get picked up at their apartment in the village."
"I retired from Fermilab in 2018 following 35 years as a member of the scientific staff. Over this period Fermilab placed a very high priority on being open to the public, both in terms of our scientific programs and in allowing public access to the site. Openness was viewed as an important part of the laboratory's mission, and this approach has paid huge dividends in terms of public support. Our surrounding community enjoyed unfettered access to Wilson Hall, the Education Center, and outdoor areas, including the 15th floor science exhibits, 2nd floor art exhibits, tours of the facilities, walking and skiing trails, public lectures, performing arts events, the buffalo herd, and onsite dining facilities. The public took an interest in, and developed and understanding of, our scientific mission and the role of science in society. But of equal importance, they appreciated that we provided an island of natural beauty and intellectual stimulation in the midst of suburbia. We were the cool science lab next door. It would be a great loss to Fermilab, to the community, and to the Department of Energy if this sense of openness and community integration were to be dissipated."
"I am a retired engineer after 38 years of service in the AD. I just reviewed many of these testimonials and they are all very positive for reverting to the openness that once was Fermilab. On a recent attempt to take my wife to the credit union, the guard said "civilians are not allowed in the Hi Rise"! Has a bit of a communistic flare, such a pity."
"Ran into a few people, 20ish plus one older, near the parking lot of IERC a few weeks ago (late April 2023). The older gentleman said they were aspiring young scientists mostly from Italy and had wanted to see some "physics stuff" at Fermilab. They had called the lab (communications office?) beforehand to organize their visit, left a message but hadn't received a return call. Seeing the lab was open to the public on the website they came anyways - ran into me and asked where they could go to see physics. After some thought I told them there really wasn't much of interest that was open to the public and that this hasn't always been the case. I mentioned the Lederman Center - they said they had been there and it was closed (can't verify this). In any case I feel the Lederman Center is geared to children and probably not what they were looking for. Of course I mentioned the bison. Is this the best we can do? It's somewhat shameful. "
"My first experience at Fermilab was in 2017, when I got involved in a summer school. The lab was fantastic, on that year it hosted the 50th Fermilab Open House with tens of thousands of people visiting the facilities and the wildlife. Fast forward to 2022, and I invited a friend having a BBQ at the barn, only for her to be rejected at the gate because of being non-US citizen, despite having a valid passport. In addition, even the simplest commodities like food delivery or limo pick-up have been more and more complicated. Then, the unannounced and unreasonable blocking of Whatsapp. Living at the village was once a fantastic experience, now it's more like a nightmare."
"Fermilab has to remain an unbreakable link between Science and human beings. Open your doors and your heart ! Rabelais said: "Science without conscience is only ruin of the soul". "
"I miss taking visitors and AFS students to see the buffalo, harvest prairie seeds in the ring, attend Saturday physics and to the barn dances. We miss biking there as well."
"I used to work with the D0 experiment and spent numerous extended stays on the Fermilab site. My family once came from France to visit and I could show them the premises and some exhibitions. I could see how appreciated easy access was by the general public as well as the local community."
"STEM Career Night for high school students and tours I've given to family and friends are just a couple of the more recent outreach activities that now cannot occur. I was once headed for home at the end of the day when a docent walked into my experimental hall and said, "Hello. Are you the scientist who is planning to meet my tour group?" I wasn't, until that moment. I spent the next half hour with a group of 20 or so folks and I was late for dinner. Those sorts of events are no longer possible under the new policies."
"A colleague of mine was scheduled to bring the Society of Physics Students organization at Truman State University to visit Fermilab. At the last minute they had to cancel after making all their travel arrangements because Fermilab randomly decided to implement a "Real ID" requirement for no rational reason whatsoever (I guess it keeps out spies who don't have Real IDs?). It turns out that the state of Missouri doesn't even issue Real IDs at the moment, so there are entire swaths of the country that cannot have any access to the lab given the arbitrary policy implemented on extremely short notice "
"As a long-time employee and also 24 year Aldermen in the City of Geneva, I can attest to the continued interest of Fermilab neighbors in the Lab. Over the years many people have approached me and asked if it was possible to somehow see the lab. I always encouraged them and even agreed to help them visit and tour the open areas of the lab. As Bob Wilson said - it is their lab, if there is anything dangerous at the lab, it should be fenced off from both the employees and the visitors."
"I am appalled by the excessive bureaucracy and security heaped upon the "people's lab," aka Fermilab. Aside from nominal industrial restrictions, there is nothing demanding this level of mindless handicapping of free public access to the facility and the invasive bureaucracy that impedes basic scientific research. "
"I began working at Fermilab in August of 1980. I was assigned to the Public Information Office and hosted many of the non-scientific visitors to the Lab. No matter what stage we were in constructing, operating the accelerator system and maintaining the huge complex was the fact that most visitors did not really understand what we were doing. They did appreciate however, Fermilab for what it was. The enthusiasm by visitors and employees was contagious all while conducting its work in an open and collegiate environment. In the late 2000's a cancel culture trend started to be used and was adapted to direct many work force issues. This convenient management philosophy was adopted as a way of doing business. Today, with this related thinking and similar action now has the lab closing things, in particular canceling cultural events, needing approval for access to attend a public meeting or not allowing employees or family to stop in at their savings bank at the Credit Union. I hope these practices can be reversed once an assessment is conducted to understand what is being protected and at what price. Using these raw security measures along with the negative effects of what cancel culture spreads in organizations should be reconsidered."
"I have to wonder what horrible problems had been present at Fermilab for the past 55 years that suddenly warranted all these extreme new security and rad safety regulations. It feels like someone thinks that we have just been lucky to have avoided leaking information to spies or fatally irradiating busloads of school kids. This place is home to thousands of people who spend their careers observing things and figuring out why they happen. Drastic policy changes with no explanation are not well received."
"After moving to Batavia my freshman year of high school, I would often ride bikes with friends to Fermi to fish, check out the buffalo, go up to the top floor and have a great view of Chicago....heck, a great view all around. I currently live in a home in Batavia that was originally bought by my wife's grandparents around 1936. I opened a small business in Batavia, and was fortunate enough to be asked to help on a committee for Fermi. Currently having young grandchildren.... also living in Batavia.....it would sure be great to show them those things today. "
"Being able to easily visit Fermilab has been critical to the development of my scientific career, beginning when I was a summer undergraduate researcher and continuing up through my now being a senior faculty member. However, it is now so difficult to visit that I have really cut back and feel like it's too hard to try to bring my own students, which is a shame. Fermilab used to be a hub of vitality, and this is part of what made it a world leader. The lack of access is badly eroding this vitality and leadership, which damages the scientific and economic prospects of the US. "
"I grew up in the area. I always enjoyed the field trips, the science fairs, getting to visit and learn. It is a major part in what pushed me forward, in what gave me confidence to continue in a science-related field. I am sad to hear that this access is being restricted for future generations. FermiLab played a major role in my childhood and many of my classmate's and sibling's educations. FermiLab should continue to be open for education."
"Visit to Fermilab as a child are an important part of why I am a physicist today. At the time, my father was able to freely show me his work, take me to his office, bring me to the 15th floor, etc. I can do none of that with my daughters today. You are losing the next generation of physicists right now, but if all these absurd policies are rolled back, returning Fermilab to the friendly place it once was, perhaps the damage can be healed."
"I grew up at Fermilab going to the day care and day camp till I was 13. I learned how to swim at the pool. I made many lifelong friends there and grew close to the day care teachers. I used to stop in and visit the day care at least once a year. I always loved going to visit my parents at work and seeing all of their coworkers I grew up knowing. As a family we used to walk our dog in the prairies and woods. It was always fun to bring family and friends on site to show them what Fermilab is and does. It's a great place for kids to take field trips and learn about the accelerators as well as the nature. I have soo many amazing memories at the lab and the village. Being on site feels like its own little world and community. I hope we can reopen the lab to the public because it is truly a place of knowledge that is loved by the community."
"I am a scientific user visiting at Fermilab -- a university scientist who is a member of one of the experimental collaborations here. I have been in more than one meeting this week where someone remarked, without further elaboration, that they had procured a contractor to do something on site, but that the contractor hadn't been able to get past the gate...as if it were perfectly normal practice for an organization to hire someone and then refuse them access. I have to believe that the pool of local businesses that is willing to work with Fermilab will shrink dramatically if this continues."
"As an early-career physicist, open access to Fermilab (and other national labs) has given me the opportunity to refine my research interests as well as interact with the scientific community when I felt isolated from it and was questioning leaving academia. An open Fermilab is increasingly important for younger and younger demographics since without exposure to such interesting science many may leave or not even consider joining the field."
"I have been a user for many years at FNAL, BNL and Jefferson Lab before that. I have noticed that labs with strong community programs get much more positive support from those communities. I have been very pleased to see all the people show up for the Saturday program, huge success in the past."
"On active duty, I was able to escort any visitor with a US identification card, without any pre-appovals, by signing in day-of. My child and spouse were regular visitors to federal buildings, under my authority. In the current FNAL environment I can't bring them to the art gallery in Wilson Hall. This is absurd, and is by effect a demonstration of bad faith with the staff of the lab. Further, I have been asked by a number of community members "what changed", frequently accompanied with wild and inaccurate speculation about the "new" nature of our work. Locking down FNAL stands in despicable contrast to the best tenets of the lab's history and mission. To put it in the most clear terms: Enrico Fermi himself, as a foreign national would face a 4-6 week delay before learning IF he would be allowed on site at all. Robert R. Wilson, as an American citizen, could not arrive on site and be escorted into Wilson Hall in the same day. "
"Hi my two children and I drive up Butterfield Rd every single day to their school. We have had SO many conversations about Fermilab because they are so curious about the area. We live minutes from there and I wish that Fermilab could be a part of their lives so they can focus on STEM. Prior to Covid, they used to have summer camps for kids and so many other enrichments for families. We hope that Fermilab can once again become a part of our lives not a forbidden zone we look at daily. "
"Monday was my very first day at Fermilab. Without a car, I decided to order from Walmart as I need to eat. However, my order couldn't pass the security gate because my driver didn't have a REAL ID. I had to walk all the way from the village to the security gate to get my order, thank God a guy on the road accepted to give me a ride. On the gate, I had to give a $50 extra tip to the Walmart guy because he was waiting for an hour, and security also didn't allow him to leave the order there. I was able to get another ride back to the village from a generous guy. I hope this access issue can be resolved soon."
"In the UK, Fermilab is becoming a byword for a place that is difficult to visit, especially for conferences, and that is protected by a maze of web pages and forms and courses that have to be navigated perfectly, or you will just be Zooming in from your hotel room. It's a tragedy. "
"My postdoc, who is Russian citizen, is sponsored by my base grant from the Department of Energy, but for about four months he was prohibited to use the Open Science Grid Fermilab computing cluster, in addition to not being permitted onsite, which really hurt my grant sponsored research. We had to put our important simulations, that are used by about a hundred DUNE experiment collaborators, on the backburner, and collaborators kept frequently asking us when we'll have the simulations ready for them. Here at South Dakota we are building the far site detectors of the DUNE experiment, for which Fermilab will host the beam and near detectors. Having trouble for some of our students, postdocs and faculty, to get computing privileges at Fermilab and site access at Fermilab, is not what our local administrators in South Dakota had envisaged when they decided to generously support the DUNE experiment."
"It is heartbreaking to read these testimonials. As a Fermilab employee, I can say that there is an enormous morale and trust crisis at the lab. Before these changes, I felt that "this was my lab." I would defend and promote it everywhere I would go, because I used to love the lab. Now, it feels like I am not part of it. There are a bunch of mindless rules that are destroying our ability to do world-class science. I don't want to organize any event at Fermilab anymore. Last conference I organized, I had Harvard professors coming all the way here only to give their talks via zoom from the hotel, because they couldn't enter the lab. I would never consider leaving Fermilab for another institution before. Today, I would not be so sure."
"In Spring term 2023, we had some enthusiastic undergrads interested in accelerator science try to setup a tour of Fermilab. After much struggle, the request was denied due to the increasingly intractable burden for approvals for access. It is a travesty to discourage young talent. Fermilab needs to return to reasonable access. It does not serve the mission of the lab or public interest for the lab to be effectively walled off as it has become recently. "
"I have visited Fermilab theory group several times (though not for a while now) and been at Fermilab for conferences. Its open atmosphere and easy entry was wonderful and illustrates the open nature of academic science. Unless there was a really strong reason for changing this (which should be shared with the physics community at least), it would be best to preserve the openness of the laboratory. "
"I have worked at the lab for more than 20 years. I have watched the security posture change--from increasing hostility to bicyclists, to the discontinuance of retiree badges, to the effective end of most club activities, to the now-arduous process to obtain badges for contractors to perform work critical to the lab's mission. I used to tell friends that they were always welcome to visit me at the lab and I'd take them on an informal tour--no longer. When out in the local area, discussion of where I work or a comment about a Fermilab t-shirt is often followed by lament that site access by the public is not what it used to be. On a cold Saturday in February 2020, two friends who had never been to Fermilab joined me near Wilson Hall. I took them up to the exhibits on the 15th floor, and we hiked through the nature areas to do some birding. A few short weeks later, the coronavirus pandemic closed Fermilab to the public. It is a shame to realize that was the last time I would be able to provide anyone with such an experience."
"I came to Fermilab for a gap year of research before my graduate education. What I entered into was an effective shell of the former community in which new people were frequently dazed & confused by all the loops to jump through & the guidelines to follow and the people used to Fermilab before its restrictions constantly struggled & expressed very valid frustrations with what they now had to do on a daily basis that limited their work & community. I have lived on-site in the Fermilab Village for the past year and must say from the deepest part of my heart: I came to love this beautiful place filled with wonderful people in which I had many opportunities to learn so much, but I am incredibly happy to leave. The heart-dropping anxiety of checking for my badge as soon as I leave the gate (good luck getting back without it), the harassment security approached my associates with when they didn't see their badges fully visible in open areas, and the apathy felt from having amenities taken away or horribly maintained leading to a depressingly subpar quality of life on-site have led me to decide to not return unless things change for the better. In fact, at this rate I doubt I can. Fermilab has become somewhat hostile if not damaging to its users and employees in a great many ways. For the sake of what I know was a magical mission carried out for decades by scientists, engineers, contractors, operators, and members of the surrounding community, I hope it can go back."
"The open access to Fermi was one of the biggest pulls to the lab. It allowed for open access and communication between the lab and surrounding community. "
"I view Fermilab as a pearl of the western suburbs. Fermilab is a wonderfully unique combination of leading-edge science, ecology, and prairie nature. It is a wonderful place to be able to visit, but unfortunately access has been very limited over the past few years and doesn’t seem to be getting much better. Fermilab has been a big part of my family’s life. My children were introduced to science at Fermilab, my son’s and I have practiced our photography skills on the Fermilab campus (bubble chamber, Wilson Hall, Proton Pagoda, etc.), we’ve attended science tours and presentations, and I’ve personally toured both CDF and DZero. I’ve also been lucky to participate in several photowalks at Fermilab. My family was there when the Muon g-2 magnet arrived. And, to be honest, there is nothing like attending an interesting science lecture in the Ramsey Auditorium because the audience is full of like-minded people who also want to learn. I regularly bike at Fermilab, but can no longer do large loops because of the requirement to stay on Pine Street and Batavia Road. Up until recently I’ve viewed Fermilab as a really good neighbor and citizen. I’ve even written to Congress in support of funding for Fermilab when times were bad. Unfortunately, over the past few years, Fermilab hasn’t really been a friendly open neighbor. I understand that some of that was because of the Pandemic, but even with the Pandemic formally over, the things you can do and the places you can go on campus are now very limited. So, I’m really hoping that you and DOE can find a way to bring back the old Fermilab and not head more in the direction of Argonne…"
"Having lived in the village as a spouse with family and later on outside Fermilab, we loved to spend time at the pool with friends, getting a drink at the users center and riding our bikes all over the place or having lunch at Wilson Hall. Back then, we also reopened the “Fermilab playgroup” for our kids at the user’s center where families could meet and get to know each other while the kids where playing. Good times with many parties at the Kuhn barn- great memories and lasting friendships were a given! I’m really sad to see that when I visited last time I could not even visit the daycare my kids spent so much time at or the little house we used to live in. It is really sad and feels like Fermilab doesn’t want us anymore."
"I have no doubts that the new Fermilab's policy of "closed doors" negatively affects scientific productivity and staff morale as it it outlined in other Testimonials. However, this portion is difficult to quantify. In addition, there are guards who are checking for several times a day that all doors are locked, plus somebody who organizes all that and check their performance. In my 25 years at the lab, I did not hear about a theft that would justify this scale of expenditures. It would be very interesting to hear from DoE a numerical justification of benefits vs expenditures. "
"The change in the culture of the unclassified DOE Office of Science national laboratories (Berkeley Lab, SLAC, Fermilab) that I observed over the course of the past three decades has been most unfortunate and has done great damage to the U.S. scientific enterprise and its status on the world stage. Mindless bureaucrats and spineless administrators have turned these formerly grand labs from being, for all intents and purposes, seamless extensions of UC Berkeley, Stanford, University of Chicago campuses into impregnable fortresses. Moreover, they have done so in a way that is demeaning and insulting to lab scientists, their families, and visiting scientists from other U.S. and foreign labs and universities. I was a young scientist at the pinnacle of my field when I decided, a few years before the COVID-19 pandemic, to quit one of these labs because I could no longer stand the wave of toxic mediocrity that overwhelmed it. Things got far, far worse since then. Reverse course before it's too late - and apologize!"
"I loved my visits to Fermilab, starting in the earliest days with mud everywhere and theorists housed in a wooden shack. Years later, Leon put me up in one of the grand farm houses. I most enjoyed wandering around and chatting with folks involved in all manner of the lab's work. On other travels, when I mentioned to a stranger being a particle physicist, many people described how much they, too, enjoyed visiting the lab."
"I am a cyclist living just west of the Fermilab Pine Street gate. Being prohibited from crossing Fermilab on my bike means that whenever I cycle to the East I must make a 3-mile detour, going and returning. While that may not sound like much, at the end of a 90-mile ride to North Avenue Beach it is significant. Until the closure, I had been cycling through Fermilab since 1984."
"I have lived just outside the East gate of Fermilab for he past 42 years and have always enjoyed the recreational and educational activities that were available within the facility. It would be great to have the traditional access restored. I did submit a suggestion to have a scannable visitor pass so that I could ride my bike through the property without the guard having to take my drivers license and fill out a special sticker for the day. Go ahead run a background check, track my every move, fine. They are supposedly working on something like that, but I fear that more public access restrictions are going to happen first. "
"I have fished at Fermilab, visited the site to see the bison, rode my bike and also have worked on projects at Femilab. This closure is unnecessary and seems to be punitive instead of being about safety and security. The change seems to have been done from a strong hand "because I can" instead of a well thought out and planned implementation. As someone who also works at Argonne National Lab, the Site Office Management has implemented immediate changes here that affect operations with no regard to downstream impacts to operations or increased costs to programs. There now appears to be a lack of teamwork between operations and oversight."
"I recently learned from a family member who works at Fermilab that the lab community vegetable gardens have recently been closed down. These gardens were a great way for members of the Fermilab community to unwind from the grind of research and to grow food. I fondly remember my time as a child working with a family friend at the gardens. A specific memory I have is seeing the vast amount of bright red tomatoes growing in the summer time. I don't understand the reasoning for shutting something like this down and I am strong supporter of the Reopen Fermilab peitition."
"I've visited Fermilab over the years because I feel its very foundation celebrates a free and open society. From the tours given on site in the Wilson Building to the visits at the Lederman Museum to the barn dancing, Fermilab is one of my favorite things about living in northern Illinois. Please make it open and free. "
"WE live nearby and love to bike through the grounds. We are also involved with AFS exchange studnets and loved to take them there to see the prairie, harvest seeds in the ring and see the bison. Saturday physics was attended by several of the studnets as well."
"I had so much fun going to the barn dances and taking AFS students. Biking through was a nice change from the busy roads and bike trails. Harvesting seeds in the ring was a real treat and I still remember the time one student and her dad got lost in the tall prairie!"
"I've worked at Fermilab for almost 40 years, including as a graduate student. For the past 25 years, I've lived nearby. I have neighbors curious about what we do here. Friends and family -- and friends of family -- from around the world were often eager to see the place. In the past, I would offer to give them a tour. Explaining what we do (and why it costs so much!) makes more sense while looking at the accelerator complex from the 15th floor, and the various displays at Wilson Hall and the Lederman Center. I hope we can get back to that. We rely on public support for funding. Anything we can do to help build more support, we should do. "
"We were asked if my 4 year old son has a real ID. "
"It appears that Fermilab has partially opened for hikers and bicycles but Wilson Hall is still closed. I'm not physically able to walk or bike so having a disability, I cannot access the site. This is unacceptable! I have further read about using the fact that some "sensitive" work is being performed is a reason to keep the lab access restricted; this is absolutely crazy! The public has no access to any buildings so how does that make any sense? I worked at PNNL where the highest levels of classified work in performed and it's access is far more open than Fermilab. Fermilab is special amongst all the other labs. Special consideration should be given to keep it open to the public even of that requires additional resources to do so. "
"I love fishing. And I love fermi lab. No brainer. "
"As one of the educational facilitators who gives tours, people should know that currently high school tours cannot go in Wilson Hall and nobody can go into the Linac. This takes away the amazing experience of thousands of students and other members of the public every year. We have been given two lines in response two our questioning of this as well as the new access rules. 1) "Our goal is to ensure the security of the lab and the safety of or personnel and visitors". - This is just a brush off and I might add insulting. Nobody wants to compromise the security of the lab or safety of anybody. What this line really means is "I will not discuss these specific issues with you" 2- - "We are merely catching up with the safety and security policies of the other National Labs". I am posting a link to an article written by an average member of the public who recently took one of the regularly scheduled public tours of SLAC https://charlieharrington.com/notes-on-slac/ (our public tours were supposed to start again last October, but still haven't and no start date is in sight. Plus who knows where they won't let us go,) As you can see, the tour went into the accelerator which is considerably more powerful than our Linac. A simple visit to SLAC's website outlines the requirements to go on a public tour. https://www6.slac.stanford.edu/public-tours#Tour-types 12-17 accompanied by an adult, no real ID, all you have to do is preregister. What does this tell us? That the idea that we are just catching up to other labs is a lie."
"I am a Fermilab user since 1985, when I joined the CDF experiment for my master thesis. I have then spent more than 5 years in presence at Fermilab and then moved back to my own institution in INFN Frascati but, in all these 35+ years, I have never stopped collaborating with Fermilab and, indeed, I have joined the Mu2e experiment in 2009. However, being Italian, I still have troubles coming to the lab and I see a huge difference, with respect to the '90s, in the way in which we are welcome over here. We now go through any kind of annoying problems: from getting our campus access approved in weeks instead than in days, to not having a simple way to rent a car from the lab. Our ID cards can get a really ridiculous duration, from days to weeks depending upon our air-tickets. Sometimes you can get it extended up to 3 months (duration of a ESTA Visa-waiver) but you need a formal VISA to get it extended to one year duration. It is really strange to prove every-single-time that you are, or you want to be, indeed part of this lab. Even for an experienced Fermilan user as I am, I succeeded to remain stacked at the gates at least three times: with or without family, with or without QR code, with or without village house keys with me. This problem could be really annoying. The story with the car rental is also more problematic. If we arrive late in the evening with international flights and find accomodation in the village, the current lab-selected rental car is not willing to wait for our landing flights or to provide a car inside the lab for us to use it. As a consequence, If you arrive on Friday evening, you risk to be stacked at the village for the whole weekend and rely to Uber or to friends to go to the grocery stores. Many of the described problems could be easily solved if there is a real interest on having the users' life simplified. Solving or mitigating these small problems can create again the magic of being part of a great unified lab where we all work for the same goal: getting the best physics results from our accelerators, detectors and experiments. "
"I joined Fermilab as employee 255 on August 26, 1968. I was given an map to the site from the Oakbrook office and was told to report to the “pink house” on good pasture drive in the then village of Weston. From that day forward for the next 21 years I was able to bring family and friends to the, show them around, and by example convince them that it was a safe place with place with no secret research or dangerous testing occuring. I cannot today go back the place I played a big part in building and operating. How shameful!"
"I first came to FermiLab in 2011, during the last tevatron run, as a college summer intern. A summer that turned out to be career defining one. I have returned to the lab almost yearly for collaboration, conferences, workshops, or just because I was passing by. The openness of the lab back then, was in large part, what made my time at FermiLab productive. Going straight from a talk to the cafeteria to an impromptu tour of new things at the lab was always very refreshing and what made this lab special. Anecdote: When I brought my then girlfriend (now wife) to tour FermiLab for the first time, she was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to enter, head to Wilson hall top floor, drive around the ring, and stop at all the cool places. Note that she had previously worked at other DOE labs before. It greatly saddened me to recently *attempt* to do the same with my parents - to no avail. Needless to say, I try to avoid meetings at FermiLab now. This is totally not conducive for vibrant scientific collaboration. This is not upholding the vision of Robert Wilson."
"For over a decade I have been bringing my middle school students to seed harvest events, Fermilab tours and field trips. The current restrictions have cancelled all these events with my students. Providing these enrichment opportunties is invaluable to a child's education and life learning experiences. It is time to allow our young people to once again enjoy their visit to Fermilab."
"My husband and I enjoy hiking and birding at Fermilab. When our children were teenagers, they always loved biking with us and seeing the bison. We've participated in gallery showings and enjoyed various events at Wilson Hall. Please increase access again! Thank you."
"As a Batavian and fellow Restoration Ecologist providing public access to openlands and green space is tremendously important. Additionally, Illinois used to be 60% prairie pre-settlement. What is now left is less than 0.01% of remnant prairie. Big Woods alone is a remant woodland that is highly diverse and a historical part of our community boasting a diverse array of species not found in other local places. Fermilab Natural Areas is critical in helping both protect our endangered resources as well as providing education to the public. Fermilab helps share seed with other organizations and helps foster community within the conservation world and beyond. Fermilab Natural Areas has been a lovely place to hike as a Batavia resident but also a place where I have learned about mushrooms from fungi forays, learned from volunteer stewards, helped organize prairie tours as a former Batavia Environmental Commission member, and have partnered with your staff to promote biodiversity initiatives in our community. Please consider opening this space to taxpayers who want to learn, support, and help protect this space. We need to share not shield these places from the public. If you don't use them, you will lose them. If people don't understand the importance of why we need these spaces then they will eventually be lost in time. Anna Bakker M.Ed Environmental Education B.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Batavia Tree Commission College of DuPage, Outdoor Lab/Prairie Manager"
"I am president of Fermilab Natural Areas (FNA). FNA is a nonprofit organization formed to continue the work of habitat restoration, environmental education, research, and community involvement that began in 1975 when Dr. Robert Betz began restoration of 13 acres of tallgrass prairie within the 6,800 acre Fermilab site. Over the past 40 years, hundreds of people have invested thousands of hours successfully restoring about 1,000 acres of tallgrass prairie at Fermilab, plus hundreds of acres of woodland, oak savanna, and wetland. FNA works with the Fermilab ecologists to ensure that our work is consistent with the goals and objectives of Fermilab and the DOE. FNA’s work has been significantly affected by the changes in Fermilab’s access policies. The lifeblood of any volunteer organization is volunteers. It has become very difficult to retain volunteers and to get new ones; organize to get unbadged volunteers onto Fermilab to do work; and get volunteers to non-public areas to do work. The prohibition on entering most buildings has also caused a lot of difficulties. These are some specific issues: 1. The badging process for our habitat workday volunteers, site stewards, wildlife and plant monitors, and Executive Board members has been a frustrating process that has caused some of our members to quit. After going through the online application gauntlet, a process fraught with pitfalls, and making an appointment to enter Fermi to pick-up their badge, they were turned away at the security gate because they were told they didn’t have an appointment. 2. Sometimes security guards question people even after they show their badge. 3. There are significant restrictions on the activities of new (un-badged) volunteers, even when they are accompanied by badged volunteers or employees. We had to reduce our habitat workdays for un-badged volunteers to once a week and these can only be held at designated public natural areas. a. Our annual seed harvest has been reduced from twice to once a year, and we had to limit attendance to 50 pre-registered participants. This used to be a great family event for the community and an opportunity to introduce attendees to prairies and our organization. b. We have curtailed offering habitat workdays for college and high school organizations. The logistics of getting these groups through security is too difficult. 4. We are prohibited from entering most buildings. a. We are unable to use the Users Center or Kuhn Barn for board meetings, annual meetings, or volunteer appreciation events. We must search for free accommodations elsewhere. b. Our unbadged volunteers cannot access Wilson Hall to use the cafeteria or bathrooms. For example, the nearest available bathroom for volunteers working at the Sparrow’s Hedge on the east side of Fermilab, is the Lederman Science Education center on the west side. "
"My family used to love fishing at Fermilab. Well, my husband and son fished. I read a book. It’s such a beautiful, quiet place. I don’t understand why fishing is now prohibited. I also used to love walking the trails. But I have no use for a REAL ID or passport, so walking the trails is no longer possible. It’s sad that Fermilab is no longer a welcoming place to visit. I grew up rollerblading, biking, and walking the paved trails. Up until the visiting restrictions, the outdoor areas of Fermilab were my place where I felt like I could breathe again. "
" I’ve worked at Fermilab for over 45 years, and during that time I’ve participated in many outreach activities with other employees, including giving tours, participating in open houses, and creating displays. These and other educational and enjoyable events were always well received by the public, and made the employees feel proud to be involved in the science Fermilab does. Outreach, particularly that done on site, is an essential part of Fermilab’s mission. To eliminate this would significantly diminish Fermilab’s purpose, allow the relationship between Fermilab and our neighbors to deteriorate, and lower morale for the employees. I could make the same statement regarding the many concerts, entertainment and lectures that have been central to Fermilab for many years. If there is reason for these restrictive actions to be taken that outweighs the benefit of these activities, I’d like to hear it."
"My oldest son and I used to love going there to fish. My mom and I loved the nature there. My youngest has been once, Father’s Day 2019, he’s five now and it would be awesome if we could go fishing there again."
"I used to love walking the woodlands and prairie at Fermilab in every season of the year. The birdwatching was amazing, the spring ephemerals, watching the prairie come back after a prescribed burn... and helping with seed harvests. I miss that so - it is such an integral part of our community, please reopen public access!"
"As a Batavia resident, and neighbor of fermi lab, living in the Woodland Hills neighborhood across from the entrance, I support this letter and ask for government representatives to open fermi back up to the public. It is unsettling that there are such high restrictions now as opposed to prior to the pandemic. I work for a government entity as well and am not understanding what is causing this. My son a scout, visited Dresden Nuclear Power plant and his troop was welcomed by the staff. This made such an impression on my young adult son that he is considering one of the career paths at Dresden. Fermi needs to have the same connection with the public. Thank you "
"Fermilab has wonderful local native plant gardening activities, these were shared with plants people along with the chance to visit and enjoy these native natural areas. The art gallery was also a good reason to visit. The curator could display three different artists - their different art means and they would all flow together well. Intelligent people involved with such a place Department of Energy, keep you with an eye to the East waiting for the Sun to rise. "
"Before 9/11 my friends and I used to enter the FermiLab compound, park, and rollerblade the smooth walkways. The area was beautiful and the walkways were easy to navigate. We would park near the entrance and rollerblade to the main building. We would be allowed to enter, hit up the vending machines, and lounge on the grass outside to rest before heading back to the entrance. While there we would see a few bikers, runners, and other sports enthusiasts. If we got lucky we might see bison and other wildlife. It felt like a semi-private oasis where I could escape from the normal hectic workdays. Since it closed to the public I had to find other places but none have compared. In recent years I was able to take my kids and drive through to see the bison but the areas allowed were limited. It’s a shame that such a beautiful property is off limits to the public. Please re-open Fermi to the public while putting safety measures in place. I am sure it can be done. "
"Imagine the wonder of watching a baby bison being born; I had that experience, but from a viewing spot now off-limits to the public, on a roadway not near any scientific buildings. Imagine seeing flocks of migratory waterfowl resting on their journey; now in areas unavailable to the birdwatching, nature-respecting public even though the routes to those areas pass through no scientifically sensitive areas. The goals of the prairies and similar areas were to restore and teach visitors about these native habitats for flora and fauna. With so many closed or restricted areas, Fermilab feels like a living museum that’s closed its doors to the public."
"I worked at Fermilab as a term physicist in 1978-1980 and I have visited the campus with my family and kids on multiple occasions since the late 1990s including the education center for students and the main building exhibits. I hope that I will be able to visit again with grandchildren some day. Please keep these educational exhibits open for families to visit."
"I was a Lederman Fellow at Fermilab pre-COVID and during the first part of the pandemic. I loved meeting people who grew up visiting Fermilab and the openness of the site - it made me proud to work there. Flash forward to today, when I send an undergraduate from my group to work at Fermilab for the summer (usually an amazing experience) and she is stranded at the gate for lack of REAL ID, despite following the new enhanced screening process. The left her without a ride in the middle of Batavia on a holiday. It's hard to see how we can collaborate with Fermilab going forward if they can't treat our students with success."
"I will try to be concise and fair.  I have read the testimonials and the official access statement from the Director (https://news.fnal.gov/2023/05/from-director-lia-merminga-accessing-fermilabs-batavia-site/).  I've also had conversations with active and retired employees.  What emerges is that Fermilab is caught in the middle between security mandates and perceived threats and liabilities. The testimonials reveal a security apparatus that seems to be out of control.  For example, you reportedly have a former FNAL director needing an escort, and the new director of BNL not being allowed on site until Lia Merminga makes a phone call, to name two examples of ridiculous security at a fundamental research lab; not a weapons lab or the Nevada Test Site.  I am all for reasonable security but it's clear from this that Fermilab's security needs to be dialed down a notch or two.   Here is what the Lab community seems to want for the most part: 1.  Those wishing to enjoy outdoor recreation would like to be able to come on site to look at the buffalo, fish, run, bike ride, look at birds, or tend a garden plot. 2.  Scientists would like to be able to visit and collaborate, attend seminars and give papers without protracted and burdensome procedures to get on site. 3.  The rest of us, myself included, just want to go to the credit union and have lunch in the cafeteria or go to some event in Ramsey Auditorium. The above list isn't exhaustive, but examples of harmless activities. Is all of this impossible without a lot of ID requirements?   Is none of this negotiable?   The new director's statement says work is progressing to meet some of the above requests.   I am willing to be patient but there is a one size fits all security mentality that I don't think is rational.  Case in point, retiree ID badges:  As I understand it, the retiree ID badges were nixed because no other lab does this, therefore, Fermilab cannot either.  Does anyone really think that a retiree plans to get a badge to harm Fermilab?  The retiree badges didn't even have RF chips!  "Furthermore, we manage a large amount of non-public information, and we take the responsibility of protecting that information very seriously."--from the Director's statement on accessing Fermilab.  This is interesting because the Lab has always handled proprietary and sensitive information:  personal and payroll data, proprietary procedures, innovations awaiting patents, and non-export information.  As someone who has worked with classified information elsewhere I must firstly say that Fermilab's site is not currently set up for high security because it was not designed for that.  Fermilab has no perimeter fence; no windowless buildings.  Any work being done at Fermilab that is so sensitive that the whole site has to be restricted, should either not be taking place at Fermilab, or should be quarantined to a separate high security area inside the site that is walled off so the rest of the site can return to some degree of normalcy.   Safety:  If the concern is liability and lawsuits, I'll be the first one to sign a liability waiver.  In all the years I came on site, the only thing I recall worrying about was having a goose defecate on me.   After decades of operation and tens of thousands of visitors, what are the statistics concerning non-work related injuries?   Currently the Lab's science involves neutrinos.   Anyone who can prove a neutrino will hurt me will get a Nobel Prize.  Let's come to some arrangement where the Lab is reasonably safe and secure, and enjoyable again. "
"As a student at Northeastern Illinois University I had the immense pleasure of studying with Dr. Robert Betz and visiting Fermi Lab's prairies. Years later I had the memorable experience of visiting Fermi with my Goddaughter as she performed her daily duties as an undergraduate intern. That day I not only walked through the beloved prairie remembering my time with Dr. Betz, I also participated in the guided tour of the work at Fermi and was amazed at how the work there applied to our everyday lives. I was disappointed to learn that Fermi Lab is no longer open to the public; no longer open to people like myself to learn the applied value of the physics work that goes on there. I would hope that being a non-military facility, Fermi Lab would return to being open to citizens carrying a valid passport or state Real ID. "
"An open and accessible Fermilab has been a vital part of the community, educating and inspiring people, young and old. It is the reason that my own daughter is a physicist. The decision to close Fermilab to the public and to make it near impossible to use is shortsighted and, frankly, shameful. It is also not in keeping with the intended mission and purpose of the lab. This is an immeasurable loss to countless people in the area and beyond. Fermilab must return to the way it was, open and accessible to all."
"Fermilab has been close to the surrounding community from the beginning. Both Fermilab and community greatly benefited."
"I live in St. Charles, and in 38 years, I have enjoyed much that Fermi Lab offers from Bison viewing, seed sowing, art exhibits, short plays, concerts and when I worked in Batavia, lunch in its cafeteria. What a loss to our community , closing Fermi Lab is. To say nothing of its history and meaningfulness to our present day life. We welcome its vast open space, interesting architecture, the diversity of its employees and the significance of its research."
"As the wife of a Fermilab physicist and longterm member of the Auditorium committee, my ties to the Lab are deep and varied. I have seen first hand how public laboratory events deepen relations with the surrounding communities and deepen their support for the scientific work of Fermilab and also its role in restoring many acres of former farmland to a natural habitat widely enjoyed and visited by those who will support such work elsewhere. Opening the Lab again to the public is worth far more than the cost of the effort involved in making it safe to do so. Patricia P. (Trish) MacLachlan "
"Visited FNAL regularly since it was established in 1968. Lectures and public programs that enriched the community are sorely missed. Site was developed as an "open to the public" scientific research asset. Closed campus policy contrary to FNAL's first Director Robert Wilson's vision as stated to the Congress when first funding for FNAL was being debated."
"IF I ever get an opportunity to gain access into Fermilab, I want to visit Dr Robert Wilson’s grave to see if the ground around it has been loosened by his kicking and screaming of what Fermilab has become. It was his vision that The National Accelerator Laboratory (now called Fermilab) was to be as open as any National Park, which the people could venture about the site and see that there was nothing to fear of the new scientific facility. Bringing in Buffalo and Scottish Highland cattle was to be an attraction for common people to visit, and ask questions. His vision was born from his experiences as a young scientist at Los Alamos during the war years. Everyone that worked there was sequestered for at least 3 years, nobody in, nobody out, security was high. But at that time, Los Alamos had a reason; they were working on a great secret. So 25 years after the War when Dr Robert Wilson agreed to head up a new scientific project, he vowed the secrecy and security was going to be nothing like Los Alamos, and for good reason. Fermilab was working on the basic building blocks of science, which should be no secret to anyone who would ask. No reason for top security at Fermilab, no state secrets, no weapons projects; the security guards didn’t even carry guns, and that’s the way it was at first. Fast forward to today and we find the same type of lockdown not seen since Los Alamos. The modern day Fermilab worry wart safety concerns have been blown out of proportion, thus anyone wanting to visit Fermilab must have an extremely good reason for doing so. History will repeat itself if the previous history is not known. So there you have it. I expect the present Fermilab administration will stubbornly cling to its feeble beliefs of safety and security. We can write as many testimonials as we like but I expect nothing will change. I can say Fermilab WAS the greatest working environment ever, I made a lot of friends, we all had a great work ethic, and moreover, we got the job done without the extra baggage of worry warts and naysayers. My wish is the security would return to the way it was. But that’s not going to happen. I will probably never see Dr Robert Wilson’s gravesite again. Lester Wahl Retired 1970-2005 "
"As a child I once visited the bison with a school or church group of which I was a member. Years later, after buying a Batavia home in 2007, a community member told me that there were Bison on the grounds. It didn't take long to put together that I had unknowingly returned to the place of that childhood memory. From then until the pandemic, Fermi was a place for biking, learning, fishing and family tourism. My oldest son caught his first fish just NE of the Computing Center. I fell in love with biking again riding through the grounds from Wilson to Pine. I even nurtured my career in architecture by marveling at the cast concrete structure of Wilson Hall. Fermi Lab should be open so that generations of curious citizens can continue to journey the crossroads of local culture and science that so many of us have passed through. Frankly, my family misses it, I miss it, and thousands more do as well. Reopen Fermi Lab. It makes Batavia and Northern Illinois a better place to be."
"In 2015 I was lucky enough to visit Fermilab for a weeklong workshop for physics teachers during the summer. We put on hard hats and saw the tunnel at MINERvA and heard all about the new mu2e experiment from knowledgable scientists. The next day we walked through the magnet for the muon g-2 experiment, listening to another enthusiastic scientist explain the most fascinating physics I've ever heard. This experience blew me away, getting to see such cutting edge physics in person, seeing how it all worked and being able to ask questions right there about what something was made a huge impact on me and on my teaching. I brought my new knowledge and my renewed excitement for this subject to the classroom and I continue to share that this Quarknet group has consistently been the best professional development in my 20 years of teaching. I truly hope that other teachers will have this same opportunity and that we'll be able to tour Fermilab experimental facilities again soon."
"I am a high school physics teacher. For many years, I have brought groups of students to learn about physics at Fermilab. Touring one of the premier research centers in the world is a wonderful opportunity just 50 miles from Chicago and Evanston. Students were able to learn from scientists and learn about fundamental science in a direct way that cannot be equaled—cannot even be approached—anywhere else. This year, my students and I sat in our school bus for 50 minutes, waiting for approval to enter this same institution. After our wait, people who want to share knowledge with the world scrambled to provide a driving tour of the outside of the fascinating labs we had visited in years past. Frustrated, disappointed, and treated to a diminished experience, my students made of it the most they could. "
Fermilab was always meant to be an open site that would inspire awe and wonder, love for nature, art, and science in the community.

The Vision of Fermilab's Founder, Dr. Robert Wilson

Senator Pastore
Is there anything connected in the hopes of this accelerator that in any way involves the security of the country?

Dr. Wilson
No, sir; I do not believe so. It only has to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with those things.

Senator Pastore
Is there anything here that projects us in a position of being competitive with the Russians, with regard to this race?

Dr. Wilson
Only from a long-range point of view, of a developing technology. Otherwise, it has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things that we really venerate and honor in our country and are patriotic about.

Dr. Wilson
In that sense, this new knowledge has all to do with honor and country but it has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to help make it worth defending.

Reopen Fermilab