The new machine will power cutting-edge physics experiments for years to come by allowing scientists to study invisible particles called neutrinos, which may hold the key to cosmic mysteries.
"This particular upgrade will allow for decades of driving science around that, in conjunction with our international partners, we are very excited for the opportunity for discovery round that," said Paul Dabbar, undersecretary for science for the Department of Energy.
Governor JB Pritzker, Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin and other state and federal leaders were in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Proton Improvement Plan-II Accelerator Friday morning.
"Fermilab already has injected over $1 billion into our economy," Pritzker said. "This will grow that and I intend to make it my mission to continue to make this a focus of federal resources because of our talent."
The 700 ft. long particle accelerator will be built at Fermilab over the next few years. It will be the first such project built in the U.S. with major contributions from international partners.