Our focus for 2014

Fermilab Director
Nigel Lockyer

Happy New Year. I hope everyone had an enjoyable break — there is nothing like the holiday season to clear the mind and recharge the batteries!

The year ahead will be an important one for defining the long-term vision for Fermilab. Here are a few highlights we can look forward to in 2014.

The final report from the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel: The U.S. particle physics community’s planning process kicked off last fall with the establishment of a new P5 committee. The committee has held three face-to-face “town meetings,” all of which were well attended with good participation from the particle physics community. A virtual town hall meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 10 a.m. CST, with the goal of involving those working at CERN or other locations not near the previous meetings. P5 has been charged with delivering preliminary comments in March and its final public report in the May time frame. Once the report is released, Fermilab will need to focus its attention on aligning with the community plan.

The next run of the Large Hadron Collider at close to 14 TeV: Excitement is building as we prepare for the start of the run. The discovery potential is huge. In addition, we recently learned that the government of Japan has invested a small amount of funding into the International Linear Collider to explore interest and potential partners from around the globe. This is a good and positive step for this future collider.

The future neutrino physics program: Here in the United States, we already know that the “big questions” in neutrino physics will play an important role in our future. The recent insertion of the MicroBooNE time projection chamber into the pressure vessel (see article on the left) is the first of many milestones we expect as we build expertise in the sophisticated liquid-argon detector technology. The upcoming Physics Advisory Committee meeting, which will be chaired for the first time by Daniella Bortoletto from Oxford University, will have a significant focus on neutrino physics.

The continuing challenge for our laboratory, working with partners from around the world, will be how to address the most compelling questions in neutrino physics such that the program builds and evolves toward the long-baseline neutrino program. This is an exciting time in neutrino physics, and with the right partners, wise investments and focus, Fermilab should be well placed to play a leading role in addressing the ever puzzling nature of the particle coined by Enrico Fermi as the “little neutral one.”