Paul Halpern in Starts With A Bang!:
On June 15, 1967, the National Accelerator Laboratory — which would be renamed seven years later after Enrico Fermi and is now known colloquially as Fermilab — began operations. At first, its operations were situated in Oak Brook, Illinois until its sprawling main campus in Batavia, Illinois could be designed and constructed. This is the story of the planning and development of that remarkable site: an extraordinary mix of state-of-the-art technology, striking modern art and architecture, and a dab of frontier wilderness, complete with stagecoach canopies and roaming bison.
Fermilab’s first director Robert Rathbun “Bob” Wilson was a true Renaissance man. Born in Frontier, Wyoming, he had begun his career working under the great cyclotron designer Ernest Lawrence at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory (later renamed for Lawrence), associated with the University of California. He acquired from Lawrence a drive and passion for pushing the energies of particle accelerators to their very limits.
While working at Cornell in experimental high energy physics, Wilson was an efficient leader. Yet he also had an artistic side, bursting to break through. In a virtually unheard of move, in 1961 he took time off from his rising scientific career to enroll at the Academia di Belle Arti in Rome and pursue a passion for creating modern sculpture. He also studied architecture and contemporary design.