Project X team selected

From left: Sergei Nagaitsev, project scientist for the accelerator facility; Bob Tschirhart, project scientist for the experimental program; Jim Kerby, project engineer. Photo: Reidar Hahn

The Project X leadership team is taking shape with the creation of three new positions to help guide the proposed accelerator facility to realization. Bob Tschirhart is the project scientist for the experimental program, Sergei Nagaitsev is the project scientist for the accelerator facility and Jim Kerby is the project engineer.

“These three are the key to moving Project X forward,” said Steve Holmes, project manager for Project X. “They are working in the context of a multi-institutional collaboration.”

Project X would provide high-intensity beams of protons to various experiments, of which there are currently 20 possibilities. As project scientist for the experimental program, Tschirhart will establish a scientific program that engages the physics community.

“The last 20 years in particle physics have been fantastic,” Tschirhart said. “We defined very strong limits on where new physics can exist. Project X will only take us further.”

Tschirhart has conducted research at the intensity frontier since 1990. A Fermilab employee since 1992, he was selected for the project scientist role after an international search. He’s now shaping the experimental program, based on which experiments would benefit the greatest from the proposed facility. Holmes called Tschirhart the physics ambassador for Project X.

“My job is to work with Sergei and Jim to define the capabilities of the accelerator, and communicate that to the physics community,” Tschirhart said. “There’s a lot of collaboration and intellectual competition concerning Project X.”

Nagaitsev organizes and manages the design and development of the accelerator facility. By looking at the capabilities of the proposed facility and the potential experiments, Nagaitsev works to determine realistic boundaries and possibilities. He called Project X an investment in Fermilab’s future.

“This is the right step forward not only for Fermilab, but for particle physics as a whole,” Nagaitsev said.

Kerby, the project engineer, looks forward to helping merge the scientific design of the accelerator with practical engineering consideration, and incorporating contributions from international collaborators.

“Fermilab’s accelerators always present cutting-edge challenges and Project X is no different,” Kerby said. “But the Fermilab engineering staff has an exceptional track record in rising to those challenges, and I look forward to realizing this machine.”


“It’s a great time to be a particle physicist,” Tschirhart said. “There’s a lot to do.”

Ashley WennersHerron