My goal over the last two weeks as the new director was to interact with as many members of the Fermilab staff and user community as possible. Many of you attended the seven “all hands” meetings, and I thank you for your helpful questions, comments and suggestions.
I spent much of the time getting to know the laboratory, from a weekend visit with the operators in the Main Control Room to a tour of the impressive Lederman Science Center. I am still talking about how our education program is a model that should be copied nationally as our nation strives to encourage young students to enter science and engineering careers. I toured Fermilab’s Fire Department and met a dedicated team of professionals who stand prepared to assist the laboratory in times of need. (I didn’t drive a fire engine … yet.) I also discovered the best espresso in the laboratory on the 11th floor of Wilson Hall. (Sorry CMS team for trashing your coffee quality index — I have learned my lesson about putting used coffee pods into the machine.)
I put my knowledge to good use when the Undersecretary for Science and Energy Michael Knotek visited last Wednesday. We toured the CMS control room and emphasized the huge 500-petabyte data storage capability of Fermilab, visited the superconducting accelerator facility and pointed out that particle physics is the steward of accelerators in the DOE Office of Science, discussed our plans to help industry with the development of products and services associated with accelerators at IARC, and visited the MINOS cavern to view the NOvA near detector under construction.
Beyond getting to know the lab and its people, I have also kicked off efforts to prepare the lab for the upcoming meetings of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5). The first of several scientists’ retreats will take place this Saturday at CDF. The focus will be on active discussions among the lab’s scientific staff, with a goal of collective clarity about the areas we wish to emphasize to the P5 committee. By December we expect a P5 town hall meeting to take place in the Chicago area, and we should be prepared to present an affordable and compelling plan that supports the community’s goals and keeps up the momentum gained at the Snowmass meeting.
It’s been a busy and exciting first two weeks, and I look forward to a productive next few months as we come together as a laboratory to push forward on a focused effort to deliver outstanding science.