Message from Walter Massey: Fermilab Director executive search update

Walter Massey is Chair, Giant Magellan Telescope Organization; Former Director, Argonne National Laboratory; Former Director, National Science Foundation; Former President, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); and Senior Advisor to the president and emeritus trustee of the University of Chicago.

Nigel Lockyer will leave behind a tremendous legacy when he steps down after eight years at the helm of America’s premier particle physics laboratory in Spring 2022. To prepare for the transition, the Board of Directors of the Fermi Research Alliance, LLC has appointed a committee, which I chair, to conduct an international search to identify outstanding candidates for the next director of Fermilab.

I am pleased to announce the Fermilab Director Search Committee includes the following individuals in addition to myself:

  • Juan de Pablo, Vice President for National Laboratories, Science Strategy, Innovation, and Global Initiatives; Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering, The University of Chicago; Senior Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory; FRA Board member
  • John Mester, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Universities Research Association; FRA Board member

Standing committee members:

  • Kim Budil, Director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Bonnie Fleming, Professor of Physics and Director of Graduate Studies, Yale University
  • Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General, CERN
  • David Gross, Professor of Physics, KITP Permanent Member and holder  of the Chancellor’s Chair Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California Santa Barbara
  • Eric Isaacs, President, Carnegie Institution for Science
  • Paul Kearns, Director, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Cherry Murray, Professor of Physics, Director Biosphere 2 Institute, The University of Arizona
  • Elizabeth Simmons, Executive Vice Chancellor, University of California San Diego
  • Nigel Smith, Director, TRIUMF

Advisory members:

  • Maurice Ball – Deputy Department Head, Mechanical Support Department, Accelerator Division, Fermilab
  • Brad Benson, Scientist and Advisory Committee Member, Cosmic Physics Center, Fermilab; Associate Professor, The University of Chicago
  • Marcela Carena, Theoretical Physicist, Fermilab; Senior Member KICP; Professor, Department of Physics and Enrico Fermi Institute; and the College Distinguished Scientist, Fermilab
  • Anna Grassellino, Senior Scientist, Director of the SQMS DOE National Quantum Information Science Research Center, Fermilab
  • Jennifer Raaf, Senior Scientist, DUNE Department Head, Fermilab

Detailed information about the requirements for and responsibilities of the laboratory director are available on the Fermilab Director Search website at This website also provides the latest information about the status of the search process.

The voice of the Fermilab community is an important component of the search, and the Search Committee welcomes input on the search process or the names of any potential candidates. Please send any comments or potential candidate names directly to All comments will be held in confidence.

We also encourage your participation in a Fermilab townhall session on November 30, which will include several members of the Search Committee to provide an update on the search. Details will be forthcoming.

A series of follow up mini-townhall meetings will also be organized by the Fermilab members of the Search Committee in the coming months. Please watch for future updates from the search committee as we continue the search process. Thank you again for your support of Fermilab