March 10, 2022

SLAC celebrates 60 years of science and discovery

SLAC celebrates 60 years of science and discovery

The lab honors its remarkable past while continuing its quest for a brighter future.

Structured Content

This year SLAC celebrates its 60th anniversary. Here’s a look back at the two-mile linear particle accelerator that started it all - dubbed Project M, and affectionately known as “the Monster” to scientists who conjured it in 1962. Explore how SLAC’s scientific mission evolved to include cosmology, materials and environmental sciences, biology, sustainable chemistry and energy research, scientific computing and more through photos, articles and interviews. Learn more about our science and facilities of today and tomorrow.

Historical timeline »




Check here for public events that are happening during 2022. SLAC offers public lectures and other special lectures throughout the year.

Lecture series

This anniversary year our lecture topics feature discoveries and solutions for tomorrow’s challenges. 

Upcoming Lectures »

15 years of Public Lectures »



Explore some of our facilities and learn about our exciting research.

Register for a Guided Virtual Tour »

Self-paced Virtual Tour »




Historical insights

Travel back in time through our archival records and documentary films. Browse the SLAC Archives, History & Records Office website to find histories written about the lab, memorials and tributes to some of our most prominent leaders and scientists, and a history of our contribution to the World Wide Web. Listen to SLAC people tell their stories in our collection of oral histories.

SLAC Archives, History & Records Office »

SLAC oral histories »

SLAC's early history: A "monster" of an idea changed how we see the universe
This video presents the early history of SLAC (1960s-1990s) and the research on particle physics that led to multiple Nobel Prizes.


SLAC Recent History: The creation of a powerful X-ray laser
This video tells the story of how scientists transformed the original linear particle accelerator into one of the most advanced X-ray Laser light sources.




Documentary films

Two 1964 films detail the construction of Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, later renamed SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. They were made and recently remastered by filmmaker J. Douglas Allen, who produced a number of films for Stanford in the 1960s.

“The Worlds Within” describes the Stanford linear accelerator’s purpose, development and early construction.


“Fabricating the Linear Accelerator” documents everything that went into making each of the 240 40-foot modules that comprised the original 2-mile-long linear accelerator.



An overview of SLAC

This documentary chronicles SLAC's history, including some of our directors, scientists and innovators sharing their personal experiences, and offers a glimpse into the many projects we're working on today. (Running time - 17:40)
(SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)



Our history in photos

This album gathers some of the most iconic historical images from our photo archives, as the lab celebrates its 60th anniversary.

SLAC's history in photos

SLAC history Flickr collection »



Articles celebrating our past


web history

News Feature

SLAC’s Tony Johnson remembers the WWW Wizards and the birth of North America’s first website
This month marks the 30-year anniversary of the first website in North America, launched at SLAC. In this Q&A, one of the Wizards recalls the motivation that spawned the development and how it has changed the work of scientists.

December 13, 2021


Linac construction

News Feature

SLAC’s Historic Linac Turns 50 and Gets a Makeover
The lab’s signature particle highway prepares to enter another era of transformative science as the home of the LCLS-II X-ray laser.

May 4, 2016


2 physicists

News Feature

Symmetry: The November Revolution
Forty years ago, two different research groups announced the discovery of the same new particle and redefined how physicists view the universe.

November 11, 2014



News Feature

SPEAR-heading X-ray Science for 40 Years
Last Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of an historic event: In 1973, a team of research pioneers extracted hard X-rays for the first time from SLAC's SPEAR accelerator.

July 8, 2013


Read more SLAC history articles »





Discoveries and solutions for tomorrow’s challenges

SLAC News Center »



SLAC’s Nobel prizes

Four Nobel prizes have been awarded to six scientists for research at SLAC that discovered two fundamental particles, proved protons are made of quarks and showed how DNA directs protein manufacturing in cells.

Nobel prizes at SLAC »



Explore our scientific facilities


Exploring how the world works at the smallest scale.

LCLS website »



Outstanding support for scientific users

SSRL website »



A new generation of accelerators for research, medicine and more

FACET-II website »



Making a groundbreaking technology widely available to scientists

Cryo-EM website »




Media Contact

Manuel Gnida, Media Relations Manager, (650) 926-2632


For questions or comments, contact the SLAC Office of Communications at

SLAC is a vibrant multiprogram laboratory that explores how the universe works at the biggest, smallest and fastest scales and invents powerful tools used by scientists around the globe. With research spanning particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, materials, chemistry, bio- and energy sciences and scientific computing, we help solve real-world problems and advance the interests of the nation.

SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time