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Particle-smashing Fermilab gets cash reprieve

The United States' only particle physics lab, residing in Batavia, Ill., stays alive after receiving a $5 million cash infusion from an unnamed philanthropist.

The only particle physics laboratory in the United States has received a $5 million grant to continue operating.

An anonymous donor gave the gift to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab, of Batavia, Ill., to keep the facility from laying off more employees and prevent some planned furloughs.

"This is very unusual," Fermilab Director Piermaria Oddone said of the gift in an address to employees on Friday, according to a report in Science magazine. "It's not a building that carries a name. It's really a commitment to...particle physics as a long-range, important undertaking for our nation."

The gift marks is the second time in recent years that a philanthropist has come through with the money to keep Fermilab in business. But even with the cash infusion, the lab still faces an uncertain future.