The Physics Advisory Committee

Fermilab Director
Pier Oddone

The June retreat with our Physics Advisory Committee took place last Tuesday through Saturday. In these yearly meetings the PAC, laboratory leadership and representatives from DOE and NSF get together for a detailed review of the laboratory’s program and plans for the future. It is an intense retreat with long hours of presentations and discussions and numerous writing assignments. We also hear presentations on new ideas that are submitted through letters of intent and formal proposals. This year we discussed three letters of intent and one proposal, a clear sign that the creativity of our community continues unabated.

The PAC is a great committee. We are very fortunate that it includes an outstanding group of physicists from across the country and abroad. The discussions at the retreat are carried out in depth and we all learn an enormous amount of physics over the course of the meeting.

An important discussion at this year’s retreat concerned the reconfiguration of the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment. The pros and cons of the three viable options developed by the Steering Committee were discussed in detail. The reconfiguration of LBNE is an important opportunity because DOE is supporting us to continue in a phased approach along the plans developed by the community through the P5 panel of HEPAP—plans that have been accepted by the DOE and Congress.

The PAC’s advice helps us shape the program of the laboratory. There are always many good ideas, but not all of them can be implemented in the present budget environment. At the conclusion of each year’s retreat we share the committee’s written report with the community. Subsections of the report are written before the retreat ends, with the full report pulled together in the following days. It is not posted immediately so that proponents of various activities and programs can be notified first of the conclusions and recommendations. In a few days you will be able to read the report from a link on the PAC website.

I want to thank Jeff Appel for his outstanding work in organizing the PAC meetings over the years. Jeff will be retiring next month and we will miss his meticulous work in the many tasks that he carries out for the laboratory, also reflected in the great quality of the PAC meetings he has organized.

Fermilab’s Physics Advisory Committee. Click to enlarge. Photo: Fermilab