Joe Lykken

Joe Lykken Last week a distinguished committee of 24 experts conducted a comprehensive Critical Decision 1 review of the DUNE and LBNF projects for the Department of Energy. Steve Meador, head of the Office of Project Assessment for the DOE Office of Science, chaired the review, with Jim Siegrist and Mike Procario of the Office of High Energy Physics observing. Fermilab has participated in quite a few critical decision reviews in the year since the P5 report, “Building for Discovery,”… More »

Joe Lykken Every summer the Fermilab users converge on the mother ship for their annual meeting, a community briefing on the status of the full program of particle physics supported by the laboratory. The 2015 edition begins tomorrow, with an action-packed schedule put together by the hard-working Fermilab Users Executive Committee. As has become tradition, the Users Meeting is preceded by two other special events. One is the Tuesday evening Festa Italiana, a most welcome contribution from the Italian scientist… More »

Joe Lykken It’s not every day that you get invited to a White House event in the historic Indian Treaty Room. At the back door of the old Executive Office Building, Nigel Lockyer, Patty McBride and I waited dutifully in a long security line composed of dignitaries from a host of Washington agencies and embassies, as well as familiar faces from the particle physics community such as Nobel laureate Sam Ting. The occasion, of course, was the signing ceremony last… More »

Joe Lykken Neutrinos are indeed everywhere, but during the past week at Fermilab we have been up to our eyeballs in neutrino physicists as well. The first official gathering of the DUNE collaboration brought a healthy fraction of the 769 DUNE physicists to Fermilab, representing 147 universities and labs from around the globe. For three jam-packed days the collaboration discussed both neutrino science and plans for moving ahead quickly with their proposed long-baseline experiment. The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment features… More »

Joe Lykken March is Women’s History Month, a good time to reflect on the outstanding achievements of women in science, overcoming not just the usual challenges of deciphering the universe but also a professional landscape littered with gender-based obstacles. Still looming large in the rear-view mirror of history is a shameful era of overt discrimination that extended even to giants of physics. Lise Meitner co-discovered and correctly interpreted nuclear fission, a process that had fooled Enrico Fermi. Chien-Shiung Wu discovered… More »

Deep science

Joe Lykken I clipped my harness to some webbing in the corner of the open work cage, and a few seconds later foreman George Vandine signaled the hoist operator to begin our descent of the Ross Shaft. Our headlamps barely penetrated the Stygian gloom, enough to see the brand new tubular steel frames and other modernizations that will provide high-speed access and utilities to the Ross Campus, almost a mile underground. The inspection tour halted more than 2,000 feet down,… More »

ELBNF is born

Joe Lykken At approximately 6:15 p.m. CST on Jan. 22, 2015, the largest and most ambitious experimental collaboration for neutrino science was born. It was inspired by a confluence of scientific mysteries and technological advances, engendered by the P5 report and the European Strategy update, and midwifed by firm tugs from Fermilab, CERN and Brookhaven Lab. Going by the placeholder name ELBNF (Experiment at the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility), the newborn had the impressive heft of 145 institutions from 23… More »

Joe Lykken “Later in life, I discovered I do love science, and I do love physics.” —Anne Hathaway, The New York Times, Oct. 22, 2014 In the new movie “Interstellar,” a brilliant theoretical physicist played by Jessica Chastain waits in a government laboratory, surrounded by cornfields, for the “quantum data” that will make sense of the tensor calculus equations scrawled on her blackboard. To me, this sounds like a typical day on the third floor of Wilson Hall, but the… More »