The North American Particle Accelerator Conference, or NAPAC16, was held in the heart of Chicago at the Sheraton Grand Chicago from Oct. 9 to 14. The conference was co-sponsored by IEEE and the American Physical Society and hosted by two Chicagoland national laboratories – Argonne and Fermilab. Dr. Marion White of Argonne was the conference chair, and I served as program chair.
The conference brought together more than 500 experts in all fields of accelerator science and technology. It is the largest domestic particle accelerator conference and covers the entire spectrum of accelerator science and technology topics. As such, NAPAC was particularly useful for students, postdocs, technicians and engineers, as they can be exposed to the entire field in one conference. Delegates presented some 130 invited and contributed talks and hundreds of posters, received immediate feedback on their research and received many problem-solving suggestions.
Mini-courses on highly relevant topics were also offered. Everyone left with new ideas and possible solutions to their own technical problems.
Attendees got a unique opportunity to develop new contacts and strengthen existing collaborations with colleagues throughout the DOE complex and internationally. More than 30 of the most prominent accelerator vendors also presented at and helped support NAPAC16. It was an excellent venue for all conference attendees to bring themselves up to date with the newest developments in accelerator technology.
The conference started with overview talks reflecting the needs and plans for accelerators for high-energy physics research (Young-Kee Kim, University of Chicago), basic energy sciences (Michael Dunn, SLAC) and nuclear physics (Rolf Ent, Jefferson Lab). Vito Mocella of IMM (Italy) gave a closing talk on how synchrotron radiation facilities helped reveal the secrets of the burnt papyri from ancient city of Herculaneum.
Fermilab researchers, particularly those working on the superconducting radio-frequency technology, took a central stage at the award session: The IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences and Society awards were presented to Sam Posen and Anna Grassellino, and the APS Fellowship was announced for Sergey Belomestnykh, all of our Technical Division. There was also recognition for Vasily Parkhomchuk of the Budker Institute for Nuclear Physics (Russia) for his 2016 APS Robert R. Wilson Prize, which was given for his contributions to the development of electron cooling devices worldwide. I was quite excited to see this recognition as Professor Parkhomchuk was my Ph.D. thesis advisor back in Novosibirsk, and he is also a long-time collaborator on Fermilab’s programs of electron cooling in the Recycler, the electron lenses and now on the future IOTA accelerator.
At the time of the conference, the winners of the 2017 APS Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators were made public, and it was a great pleasure to see that Sekazi Mtingwa, a former Fermilab scientist and principal partner with Triangle Science, Education & Economic Development in North Carolina, will receive it for groundbreaking theoretical work on intrabeam scattering with James D. “BJ” Bjorken, professor emeritus at Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, who was a member of the Fermilab Theory Department from 1979–89, and Anton Piwinski of DESY – both long-time Fermilab collaborators, too.
Another great thing was that students and early-career scientists and engineers made up more than a quarter of the conference attendance. A remarkable indication of the health of Fermilab program of accelerator R&D was that five students received the NAPAC16 Student Poster Awards for the work done at or in collaboration with Fermilab (the poster session and the award committed were led by Kathy Harkay of Argonne, one of the first graduate of Joint Fermilab-University Ph.D. program in accelerator science and technology). The awardees and topics are: Sergey Antipov, University of Chicago, Electron Cloud Trapping in Recycler Combined Function Dipole Magnets); Gerrit Bruhaug, Idaho State University, The Design and Construction of a Resonance Control System for the IOTA Storage Ring; Mattia Checchin, Fermilab, Accelerating Field Enhancement in Superconducting Resonator; Auralee Edelen, Colorado State University, Neural Network Based Controls for Particle Accelerators; Aliaksei Halavanau, Northern Illinois University, Method for Measuring the Electron-Beam Magnetization.
The NAPAC16 was a unique major accelerator conference for us – the previous two such conferences took place in Chicago in 1989 and 2001, and the timing of the next one is not yet determined yet (sometime after 2024). It was great to see that both Fermilab and Argonne used this opportunity and sent many people to it. In particular, more than 80 participants were from Fermilab, and more than half of those were engineers, students, engineering physicists and operators. They gave 23 invited and contributed oral presentations. The conference attendance was diverse, with very good attendance by women, as well as by scientists and engineers from Europe and Asia.
The next conferences of this type will take in Copenhagen, Denmark (IPAC17, May 14-19, 2017) and in Vancouver, Canada (IPAC18, April 29-May 4, 2018).
Vladimir Shiltsev is the director of the Fermilab Accelerator Physics Center and the NAPAC16 program chair.