SLAC Timeline

  • 1962

    Contract execution and start of accelerator construction

  • 1966

    Construction completed and research begins

  • 1967

    20-GeV electron beam achieved

  • 1968

    First evidence discovered for quarks

  • 1972

    SPEAR operations begin

  • 1973

    Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project (SSRP) started

  • 1974

    Discovery of psi particle

  • 1976

    Discovery of charm quark and tau lepton

  • 1976

    Nobel Prize shared by SLAC's Burton Richter for the J/psi discovery

  • 1977

    SSRP becomes Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL)

  • 1980

    PEP operations begin

  • 1982

    Wolf Prize awarded to SLAC's Martin Perl for discovery of the tau lepton

  • 1989

    SLC operations begin; 50 GeV electron and positron beams achieved

  • 1990

    Nobel Prize shared by SLAC's Richard Taylor for first evidence that nucleons consist of quarks

  • 1990

    SPEAR becomes a dedicated synchrotron radiation facility with its own independent injector

  • 1992

    SSRL becomes a division of SLAC

  • 1993

    Final Focus Test Beam facility constructed

  • 1994

    Initiation of the PEP-II project to build the Asymmetric B Factory

  • 1995

    Nobel Prize in Physics shared by Martin Perl for the discovery of the tau lepton.

  • 1996

    NLCTA project initiated

  • 1997

    First beam injected into B Factory

  • 1998

    First B Factory particle collision occurs

  • 1999

    First events recorded by B Factory's BaBar detector

  • 2000

    Joint NASA-Stanford GLAST project initiated, Helen Quinn shares Dirac Medal

  • 2002

    SLAC celebrates 40th anniversary, LCLS project approved

  • 2003

    Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology established

  • 2006

    Roger Kornberg awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry for RNA polymerase work done partly at SSRL

  • 2008

    NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope begins mapping the sky; SLAC built and operates the main instrument for the international project

  • 2009

    Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) sees first light

  • 2011

    First beam delivered to the Facility for Advanced Accelerator Experimental Tests (FACET)

  • 2012

    SLAC’s ATLAS technology contributes to Higgs boson discovery at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

  • 2012

    SLAC celebrates 50th anniversary

  • 2015

    Construction begins at Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) site in Chile (now known as Vera C. Rubin Observatory)

  • 2016

    Responding to a call to build a revolutionary new X-ray laser, SLAC begins construction on LCLS-II

  • 2017

    Powerful magnetic devices called soft X-ray undulators travel nearly 3,000 miles to arrive at SLAC for LCLS-II

  • 2018

    SLAC and Stanford open one of the world’s leading centers for cryogenic electron microscopy, or cryo-EM

  • 2019

    With Stanford, SLAC launches new initiatives in quantum information science and machine learning

  • 2020

    After a brief pause due to the global pandemic, SSRL restarts in support of COVID-19 research

  • 2021

    Thanks to virtual technology, public tours and remote experiments continue and thrive

  • 2022

    SLAC celebrates 60 years of science and discovery