It takes a village to do great science

Paul Czarapata

Paul Czarapata, deputy head of the Accelerator Division, wrote this column.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” This saying is attributed to an African proverb, though the exact origin has not been tracked down. In our work at the laboratory a slight modification to that saying may be in order: It takes a village to do great science.

In our day-to-day jobs we sometimes lose sight of the fact that the entire laboratory contributes to the success of our science. Some staff ensure we are paid and have benefits to protect us and our families. Others help make purchases and see that quality materials are delivered. Still others help us by ensuring we do our work in safe environments. Many staff operate the experiments and support large-scale computations to find the key data from a flood of information collected.

The cooperation we need to run the lab is also necessary in each division, and this is no less true of the Accelerator Division. Over the next few months, our own village, with its many teams, will work together to continue the conversion of the former antiproton rings into muon delivery rings. These changes are in preparation for the future Muon g-2 and Mu2e experiments. Scientist will look for subtle physics processes in the former and will work to uncover new physics in the latter. In both cases, researchers will require exquisite beams to carry out their science. Our division is hard at work to make this possible.

And yet, even as we work to advance our accelerator complex, we remind ourselves that it is not only the technical staff that is needed, but all the divisions and sections that put their collective shoulders to the job.

As we move forward with our neutrino, muon and other physics programs, we must increase the size and interconnectedness of our village. National and international help will be needed. This will bring its own unique challenges for our administrative personnel, procurement specialists and technical staff. The one thing that we can count on as a laboratory is yet another saying: “We can do it!”