“What’s in a name?”

Mauricio Suarez

“What’s in a name?” Juliet asked.

The Illinois Accelerator Research Center, called IARC, is changing its name to IARC at Fermilab.

Your first question may be, “Why?”

We are changing the name because we work on commercializing technologies beyond particle accelerators, serve as a concierge to industry for Fermilab resources, and act as a catalyst for entrepreneurial thinking and action at Fermilab. We wanted a name that better captures what we are already doing.

The second question is “Why ‘IARC at Fermilab’?”

The answer here is more nuanced. We wanted to keep “IARC” because lab employees relate the name with industry partnerships. Also, the IARC team consists of scientists, engineers and business development staff who have worked hard to create name recognition in areas such as medical device sterilization, water purification and accelerator technology. We will continue to work in these areas, so we wanted to continue to grow and capitalize on the brand recognition.

One alternative was to keep the IARC acronym and change what it stands for. You can picture the exercise: I for “Industry,” “Initiative,” “Innovation.” A for “Acceleration,” “Advancement,” “Apple” (just checking on you). Then we could combine them and see if we liked a combination. We did find some intriguing combinations but concluded that the attempt was overly contrived.

So, we declared victory, kept “IARC” as an arbitrary name (like Kodak or Exxon) and added “at Fermilab” to keep a location tag.

Madam Juliet: As you can see, there is a lot in a name.

Mauricio Suarez is the Fermilab deputy head of technology development and industry engagement.