SLAC History

Photo (black and white): first construction of the linear accelerator at SLAC

In 1962, in the rolling hills west of Stanford University, construction began on the longest and straightest structure in the world. The linear particle accelerator – first dubbed Project M and affectionately known as "the Monster" to the scientists who conjured it – would accelerate electrons to nearly the speed of light for groundbreaking experiments in creating, identifying and studying subatomic particles.

Stanford University leased the land to the federal government for the new Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and provided the brainpower for the project, setting the stage for a productive and unique scientific partnership that continues today, made possible by the sustained support and oversight of the U.S. Department of Energy.