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U.S. national particle-accelerator laboratory and centre for particle-physics research, located in Batavia, Illinois, about 43 km (27 miles) west of Chicago. The facility is operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by the Universities Research Association, a consortium of 85 research universities in the United States and 4 universities representing Canada, Italy, and Japan. Fermilab was founded in the mid-1960s in response to a 1963 recommendation by the Atomic Energy Commission to build a national particle-accelerator facility to conduct world-class research in nuclear physics. The Batavia site, which extends over 2,800 hectares (6,800 acres), was selected in 1966 and formally occupied in 1968. Fermilab attracts scientists from almost every U.S. state and from 45 countries worldwide for collaborative research into the fundamental nature of matter, the field of subatomic particles