Fermilab Distinguished Scientist Jim Strait retires, becomes CMB-S4 project director

After almost 37 years at Fermilab, Jim Strait will retire on July 7 to become Project Director of the Next Generation Cosmic Microwave Background Project, CMB-S4.  Strait will join the staff of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to take on the project leadership role in CMB-S4, which is the largest collaborative undertaking yet to explore the relic light emitted by the infant universe. With 21 telescopes at the South Pole and in the Chilean Atacama desert surveying the sky with over 500,000 cryogenically-cooled superconducting detectors for seven years, CMB-S4 will deliver transformative discoveries in fundamental physics, cosmology, astrophysics, and astronomy. CMB-S4 is the first experiment to access the entire scope of ground-based CMB science. It will measure ever-so-slight variations in the temperature and polarization of microwave light across most of the sky, to probe for ripples in space-time associated with a rapid expansion at the start of the universe known as inflation. CMB-S4 will also help to measure the mass of the neutrino; map the growth of matter clustering over time in the universe; shed new light on dark matter and dark energy; and aid in the detection and study of powerful space phenomena like gamma-ray bursts and jet-emitting blazars.

During his time at Fermilab, Strait served as Project Scientist for the development of superconducting dipole magnets for the SSC, Project Manager for the US LHC Accelerator Project, Program Leader for the US LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP), Head of the Fermilab Particle Physics Division, Project Director for LBNE (the predecessor to LBNF/DUNE), and Deputy Project Manager for the CMS Calorimeter Upgrade (HGCAL) for the High-Luminosity LHC.  Prior to joining Fermilab, Strait did research in neutrino physics, e+e– collisions, and hadron spectroscopy. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University, and he is a fellow of the American Physical Society.