Roger Dixon

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

With this column I am closing the books on my last 10 years as Accelerator Division head. While I will be staying on in the position until my successor is fully on board, this is my final column for Fermilab Today. It has been quite a ride. For my entire tenure I’ve felt that nothing is beyond the capability of the Accelerator Division. The talent that resides in the division is phenomenal. It has often seemed that my primary job was to to give the reins to the stallion while providing some gentle nudges in one direction or another. The AD collider effort succeeded spectacularly, setting record after record for delivered luminosity, while the division simultaneously finished construction of NuMI, commissioned the high-energy neutrino beam, ran MiniBooNE, maintained the accelerator complex and carried out an accelerator R&D program.

When I arrived in my new position I was confident that we would soon be on the steeper part of the luminosity curve for the Tevatron collider. At the time I was quoted in a FermiNews article as saying, “We’ll meet our goals and I hope go beyond them, and after a few years there will be some real heroes, and nobody will have much even noticed that I was here. If I’m successful.” We were successful, but I failed to remain incognito. I received too much credit for the increasing luminosity. Fortunately, the real heroes, and there are many of them, have also been given some of the credit they deserved. My contribution was to approve and facilitate the positive improvements that clever AD personnel conceived. In other words, I allowed the good things to happen while a strong scientific, engineering and technical staff created and implemented them.

For more than a year the Accelerator Division has been engaged in upgrading the neutrino beam power for the NOvA experiment, beginning work for a strong program in muon physics and carrying accelerator R&D to the next level. The problems are different and very challenging as we move toward the Intensity Frontier. We have more projects than ever, and we have fewer people to work on them. Fortunately, AD people are as talented as ever, and I am confident that they will help create an exciting future for the laboratory. I have been doing this job for a long time, more than twice as long as anyone else ever has. It is clearly time for me to let someone younger and more limber than me ride the stallion toward the new frontier while I settle down on a rock to solve some old puzzles and tame some mountain goats.