A key partnership

Fermilab Director
Nigel Lockyer

We will need to build many new partnerships — and strengthen many existing ones — over the coming years as we strive to turn the P5 vision for our country and our lab into reality. But our relationship with Department of Energy will continue to be most important for future success.

A visit by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to the Chicago area last week provided us with an opportunity to enhance the strength of this key partnership. On Thursday I spoke at a meeting of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board held at Argonne National Laboratory. SEAB, as it’s known, is a distinguished group that provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary on all of the department’s activities.

The board, co-chaired this year by former SLAC Director Persis Drell and former Undersecretary of Energy John Deutsch, does not often have the chance to learn about or weigh in on DOE’s particle physics mission. So I appreciated the opportunity to lay out the global context for our field, explain the excitement and promise of neutrino physics and discuss the challenges ahead to achieving the P5 plan.

On Friday it was our lab’s turn to host Secretary Moniz. We had a short period of time to show off our lab’s excellent scientific and technical infrastructure, the expertise of our staff and our users, and our plans for the future. In just under two hours the Secretary heard about our SRF capabilities at NML; viewed the new IARC building; learned about our forefront neutrino program through a visit to the Minos cavern; discussed the LHC, CMS, dark energy and dark matter with our young scientists; and even experienced our cultural activities through a stop at the Tufte exhibit on the second floor of Wilson Hall.

His visit concluded with a presentation to more than 700 staff members in Ramsey Auditorium (with even more watching in the One West overflow room). Thanks very much to all of you who turned out on a Friday lunch hour to hear Secretary Moniz present his views on the future of science, energy and innovation in the United States. As the Secretary highlighted in his remarks, our country faces challenges in many areas and at many levels, including climate change, exascale computing and internationalizing our neutrino program. The Secretary also made clear his commitment to engaging with all 17 national labs as strategic partners to meet these challenges. We look forward to working closely with DOE to do our part to push the frontiers of science and innovation.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, right, takes a tour of NML, which houses part of Fermilab’s research on superconducting radio-frequency acceleration technology. From left: Accelerator Division Head Sergei Nagaitsev, Accelerator Division engineer Jerry Leibfritz, Technical Division scientist Anna Grassellino, Secretary Moniz. Photo: Reidar Hahn
Secretary Moniz tours the Minos underground area, home to Fermilab’s neutrino experiments. From left: MicroBooNE co-spokesperson Sam Zeller, MicroBooNE Project Manager Gina Rameika, Secretary Moniz. Photo: Reidar Hahn