On the positive side…

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone

Last week I described the cuts to the laboratory budget proposed for FY13 that would make our life quite difficult if they are enacted. This week I want to focus on the positives: our program is supported in the President’s Budget Request (PBR) and we are on track for an exciting near-term research program. However, the long-term program remains under pressure. With enormous emphasis placed, in this election season, on reducing the deficit and getting the country’s finances in order, turbulent times are ahead and our future plans have to take into account this uncertainty. As always, we will continue to do our best to give maximum value for the support we receive.

So what’s in store for our near-term program? In May our accelerator complex will shut down to complete upgrades of the Main Injector for the NOvA program. Beams will return in FY13, delivering neutrinos to the MINOS+, MINERvA and NOvA experiments. The PBR maintains the expected funding profile for NOvA, which will allow completion of the detector in 2014 along with completion of the MicroBooNE detector. By 2014 these four experiments will all be running, making for a very strong neutrino physics program.

The PBR also contains funding for new initiatives in muon physics such as the Mu2e experiment, a major enterprise that will be completed later in the decade, and the Muon g-2 experiment. With these two experiments we are developing a muon campus that will serve us well into the future. Our strong participation in the CMS experiment at the LHC also continues and there is funding for the further development of advanced accelerator technology, Project X and the muon accelerator program (MAP), dark-matter experiments and the Dark Energy Survey.

Looking farther into the future, given the cuts in the PBR to our long-term programs we are working with the DOE Office of High Energy Physics to chart a course. Both the Office of High Energy Physics and the Office of Science are supportive of our laboratory and want us to maintain our strength and contributions to the world’s particle physics program, but they labor under huge external pressures. We are also consulting with stakeholders in Congress, the OMB and OSTP to understand what our best strategy will be in response to the cuts. It will be a couple of months before we will be able to say anything about the course that we will follow given the PBR. In the meantime, we have a lot of exciting work to do.