Thanks for eight great years

Fermilab Director
Pier Oddone

After eight years and about 400 director’s corners, I come to the last column of my tenure as director of our great laboratory. I am deeply grateful for the privilege to have served as your director and for the support, encouragement and great devotion of all of you to Fermilab’s mission. You are hard-charging, can-do folks. Often you start with a healthy dose of skepticism—you need to be convinced. But watch out when you move! There is no stopping you until you succeed.

When I was considering taking the helm of Fermilab more than eight years ago, I remember hearing from a colleague familiar with the lab, “There is a lot of juice there.” Indeed I found “a lot of juice” here. It consists of vitality and strength joined with incredible resilience, which has allowed us to deal successfully with a major transition from the dominant Tevatron program to a marvelous suite of new projects that delve into the greatest mysteries of the universe—projects that keep Fermilab and the U.S. program at the forefront of particle physics. And all of this has been accomplished despite bruising budgetary circumstances.

This is not the work of just one person. I have been fortunate to have not only a superb management group but a wonderful team across the many disciplines represented at the laboratory working for the benefit of Fermilab and the particle physics community.

One person who deserves special recognition and gratitude from all of us is Deputy Director Young-Kee Kim. She has shared in directing the laboratory, been part of all decisions and played key roles in the most important and sensitive issues we have faced during these turbulent years. She has done so indefatigably, combining great drive and grace. She has never held back in giving generously of her time and effort for the benefit of the laboratory.

I also want to thank our user community for an exceedingly productive working relationship and mutual support. The users’ reports given during last week’s events was most impressive. My family and I greatly appreciated the gesture of “retiring” my jersey, which features the Peruvian colors and the number 5, symbolizing the tenure of the fifth director of Fermilab.

In this final column I also want to welcome the sixth director of Fermilab, Nigel Lockyer, and wish him and all of you at Fermilab every success in the years to come. He will discover that there is today even more of that “juice” of vitality, strength and resilience that characterizes Fermilab. I salute you all.