Director’s Corner

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone The 44th edition of the Users’ Meeting will take place on June 1 and 2, and it should be very exciting. The Users’ Meeting is a well-established tradition at Fermilab. Every year it showcases results from the entire Fermilab experimental program, alongside discussions of the lab’s future program and presentations from government officials about policies applicable to particle physics. This year we are very fortunate to have the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, presenting the…

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone poses with a painting of Ben Franklin, a Royal Society Fellow, at the Royal Society in London. This morning I chaired the opening session of a discussion on the LHC at the Royal Society in London. Sir Isaac Newton sat to my left, looking onto the audience from a painting. Today’s event is one in a long tradition of Royal Society discussions going back about three and a half centuries. The purpose this time was to…

CAS 101

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone This is another important acronym to learn: CAS, which stands for Contractor Assurance System. The basic principle of CAS is that if Fermi Research Alliance, the contractor for Fermilab, establishes a system to assure ourselves that we are meeting the requirements and goals of our contract with the Department of Energy, then the role of oversight by DOE and the demands placed on us by that oversight can change significantly for the better. The skeptic among…

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone The traditional April meeting of the American Physical Society is taking place in Anaheim, CA. It began on April 30 and will conclude on May 3. Several APS divisions participate in this meeting: Particles and Fields, Nuclear Physics, Astrophysics, Physics of Beams, Plasma Physics and Computational Physics. This is the principal annual meeting for our discipline. I gave a talk on the “Tevatron and Beyond” and participated in a panel discussion on policy together with several…

His Excellency Dr. Abdul Kalam, former president of India, joined Fermilab Director Pier Oddone and former Fermilab director and Nobel laureate Leon Lederman for lunch on the 15th floor of Wilson Hall Monday, April 25. Yesterday we were honored by the visit of His Excellency Dr. Abdul Kalam, the former president of India. Dr. Kalam, who is considered the father of India’s missile and space program, is a revered figure in India. Not only is he an accomplished scientist, engineer,…

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone The Continuing Resolution enacted last week for the remainder of this fiscal year contains cuts that amount to approximately $38 billion compared to the FY10 budget, the current level of government spending. The cuts to the DOE Office of Science represent about 1 percent of its FY10 budget but are larger when compared to the proposed President’s budget for FY11. Nevertheless, these cuts are much smaller than the cuts proposed several months ago in the House….

Kudos

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone In the midst of all the hurly-burly of the last few weeks, from the budget negotiations in Washington, to the fire in Soudan, to finding evidence for what could turn out to be a revolutionary discovery, other important events have gotten less attention. Last Saturday we brought the NuMI beam to full operation, several weeks ahead of the originally conceived schedule. The graphite target that we use to produce neutrinos failed late in February during operations….

Updates

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone There is no news yet on the budget for FY11, although we hope for some resolution within the next few days, as the current Continuing Resolution expires this Friday. There are, however, several important issues to note while we wait. Yesterday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rogers (R-KY) introduced another Continuing Resolution to extend funding through April 15, with another $12 billion in spending reductions attached to it. If passed, those reductions would not affect Fermilab. Later…

Grandpa!

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone holds his first grandchild, Gemma Lucia, while the family’s dog, Dante, licks the baby’s ear. As we watch and worry about the political debate in Washington and struggle to maintain our laboratory at the forefront of particle physics, it is also important to look at the positive side of our lives. Counting one’s blessings is a very good way to maintain perspective. A special blessing for me has been the arrival of our first grandchild on…

Pier Oddone The last few days have been quite challenging. Not only are we dealing with the specter of significant budget cuts, but last Thursday a fire in the access shaft at Soudan stopped all operations there, and here at the lab Sunday’s violent lightning storm brought a lot of equipment down, causing the Tevatron to quench and damaging one of its dipoles. With these problems for the MINOS and CDMS detectors at Soudan, and the Tevatron here, our resiliency…