On the morning of 26 May 1999, physicists recorded the first events in the large BaBar detector at the asymmetric B-factory at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). The factory began operating last year and was formally inaugurated on 23 October 1998 (CERN Courier December 1998).
The collider was constructed by SLAC, Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories with $177 million of US government funds. The BaBar detector was built by scientists and engineers from 73 institutions in the US, Canada, China, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Norway and Russia. It has cost about $110 million in all, with 40% of the total coming from foreign sources.
The goal of the detector is to study CP violation in reactions involving B particles, containing the fifth (“beauty”, “bottom” or simply “b”) quark.
The first published results should be available by next year.