The last lap – Tevatron’s end

Roger Dixon, head of the Accelerator Division, wrote this column.

Roger Dixon

The end of the Tevatron era is fast approaching. This is a poignant time for me. I became involved with this historic machine before it existed. I was involved with testing magnets in beams and with the beam extraction system used early on to deliver beam to the fixed-target experiments. Even though my role was small I could not help but feel that I was becoming a part of history. I often found it necessary to take a few moments to calm down after I got to work. Maybe it was just the coffee in the Main Control Room.

Once the Energy Doubler (the machine that was later renamed the Tevatron) was commissioned I became involved at the other end of the beams, particularly with two fixed-target experiments and in building the DZero detector.

More recently I renewed a direct involvement with the Tevatron when I returned to become the head of the Accelerator Division. These last eight years have been one of the best times in my life. From my role in AD headquarters I was well positioned to experience the satisfaction of working with a truly great team. Even though their accomplishments during these past few years are astonishing, that they persevered through so many obstacles does not comes as a surprise to me. My major responsibility during this time was to allow the division to continue its exemplary performance by keeping the tracks clear.

Building and operating the Tevatron was a big challenge for the laboratory. I remember that while we were working on it there was a good deal of skepticism in the trenches. Nevertheless it came together because the people involved were talented, enthusiastic and believed in their leadership. They developed a spirit that drove them onward despite many difficulties. This spirit has lasted through the many years of the Tevatron’s existence, manifesting itself in our successful operations and in the execution of our other big projects. It is still very much alive today, and it must be maintained if we are to have a successful future. After all, people, more than dollars, are what make the challenging projects spring to life.

The Accelerator Division will miss the Tevatron. We will take a moment of silence on Sept. 30, 2011, and then we will move enthusiastically toward the future with all its challenges.