From Chief Research Officer Joe Lykken: OCRO’s top five

Joe Lykken

The Office of the Chief Research Officer held an all-hands meeting on Monday, Oct. 22. There was a litany of success stories from around the lab, as well as a few areas where Fermilab is hoping to improve. Here are the top five takeaways from the meeting, which included presentations from Josh Frieman, Steve Brice, Panagiotis Spentzouris and me:

1. Our most critical job is to work safely. Fermilab experiments are complex endeavors that rely on talents from many individuals. It is crucial that we continue to communicate, take proper precautions, keep our workspaces orderly, and conduct job hazard analyses as we proceed. In addition to physical safety, we should also remember Fermilab’s community standards and work toward making Fermilab a safe and welcoming place for all.

2. When it comes to neutrinos, it all leads to DUNE. There’s been great progress on Fermilab neutrino projects, from the installation of ICARUS to the arrival of components for the Short-Baseline Near Detector to (another) new life for LArIAT. NOvA, MINERvA and MicroBooNE continue to produce world-leading results that improve our understanding of neutrinos. Fermilab also recently received great praise for its neutrino research program. All of this expertise is leading up to the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, the culmination of our 10-year neutrino outlook.

3. Fermilab experiments have a few challenges and many successes. Cutting-edge research isn’t easy, but there is much to celebrate from Fermilab programs. To name just a few: CMS has surpassed 800 publications, g-2 expects to publish first data this fiscal year, DES is wrapping up its final season of observations, the lab is leading the South Pole Telescope for the next five years, and dark matter detector efforts are surging ahead.

4. Fermilab is taking a leading role in quantum projects. Fermilab is a key part of a national quantum initiative and has received eight DOE awards to lead quantum programs. The goal is to produce high-impact quantum science results in the near term and build capacity for high-energy physics’ needs in the long term. Our initiatives are already producing results – keep an eye on this important field as we explore things like quantum machine learning, adapting cavities to the quantum regime, quantum imaging and quantum computing.

5. Fermilab is a science engine. Money and effort go in, and science results come out, with spin-offs of STEM training and new technologies. Our employees are doing incredible work – so while some days it may feel like you are slogging through the muck, remember that we are doing the impossible on a fairly regular basis.