In 1974, William Louis visited Fermilab for the first time as a graduate student performing neutrino experiments at the 15-foot bubble chamber. For the next 40 years he remained a recurring figure at the lab, frequently visiting as part of its vast community of scientific users. In September, Louis was elected chair of the Users Executive Committee.
“I think it’s time for me to pay back to the community,” he said, acknowledging the many committees who have supported his research in the past. Now he and the UEC want to back fellow researchers by finding ways to promote their work and improve their quality of life while here.
Louis succeeds Boston University’s Lee Roberts as UEC chair and will serve a one-year term.
“Lee has done an outstanding job as UEC chair during the past, critical year, and he has had a huge impact on Fermilab and the nation’s particle physics program,” Louis said.
Roberts, who will remain a member of the committee for one more year, believes Louis will be an effective leader.
“The UEC will be in excellent hands this year,” Roberts said. “Bill understands how to work with people and how to get things done. I look forward to working with him.”
Louis represents Los Alamos National Laboratory in his work here on both long- and short-baseline neutrino experiments. But he’s taking advantage of his new position to broaden his perspective of Fermilab research and understand the needs and accomplishments of its many sides. The committee’s highest priorities for the coming year are promoting the entire Fermilab physics program in Washington, D.C., and abroad, improving the Fermilab research climate, and providing forums such as the annual Users Meeting to highlight outstanding research.
The more he’s learned, the more impressed Louis has been with the work being done at Fermilab. He’s convinced that Fermilab is poised to lead the way to the next generation of physics.
“The term ‘new physics’ is used often, but I think it’s the case at Fermilab — whether it’s in neutrinos, the Muon g-2 and Mu2e experiments, looking for dark matter and dark energy, or the CMS experiment at the LHC,” Louis said. “I think all these programs have a great chance to discover and explore physics beyond the Standard Model.”