Changes coming to the Neutrino Division

Regina Rameika

Regina Rameika

This month we celebrate the two-year anniversary of the Neutrino Division. During these past two years, we’ve taken great strides toward making Fermilab the neutrino capital of the world. Both NOvA and MicroBooNE are successfully taking data and producing physics results. MINERvA continues to take data and publish important results. And this summer, we celebrated the successful conclusion of the MINOS/MINOS+ 10-plus-year data run.

The future neutrino program also looks bright. In September the LBNF project received CD-3a approval to begin construction activities in South Dakota, and here at Fermilab we are rapidly approaching beneficial occupancy of two new buildings for the Short-Baseline Neutrino Program in the Booster neutrino beam.

The refurbishment of the ICARUS detector at CERN is progressing well, and construction is beginning on the companion near detector for the Short-Baseline Neutrino Program, SBND. Plans call for the SBN program to get under way in 2018.

On the same time scale, the ProtoDUNE detectors — miniature versions of the final DUNE detectors — will be constructed in a new facility at CERN. ProtoDUNE will begin taking data using the CERN test beam in 2018, prior to the start the LHC long shutdown.

The mission of the Neutrino Division is to support all of these activities by providing technical, scientific and administrative support either directly or in support of the broader neutrino user community. In the first two years of the division’s existence, this support has been accomplished by an organization with a Technical Support Department, which concentrates on detector engineering and detector operations, and the Neutrino Physics Department, which is the home to the experimental groups.

Looking to the future, we have decided to elevate the activities on DUNE and SBN, which are rapidly ramping up, to the level of their own departments. Similarly, the groups that use the NuMI beam, namely NOvA and MINERvA, will be housed in their own department.

With this change in organization will also come a change in division leadership. Effective Oct. 15, I will step down as Neutrino Division head to allow me the time to play an active role in leading the construction activities for the ProtoDUNE detector. Steve Brice will become the new division head, and Sam Zeller will be his deputy.

Peter Wilson, who leads the SBN Program, and I will assume roles as associate division heads as well as department heads for the newly formed SBN and DUNE departments, respectively. Rob Plunkett will head the NuMI Department, and Barry Norris will take over as head of the Technical Support Department.

We hope that this new organization will be poised to take on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as Fermilab hosts the next generation of experiments working to unravel the mysteries of the elusive neutrino. Congratulations to the entire Neutrino Division for their many successes over the past two years.

Regina Rameika is the head of the Fermilab Neutrino Division.