Users' Executive Committee
Users' Executive Committee
Fermi Research Alliance, LLC

Meetings and Minutes

Minutes of the February 4, 2006 UEC Meeting

Present: Alton, Casey, Chertok (video), Diehl, Finley, Gollin, Kopp, Merritt, Nguyen, Quinn(video), Trischuk
Apologies: Bertram, Hughes
From the GSA: Aguilar-Arevalo, Cuenca Almenar, Degenhardt, Maki, Welty-Rieger

The Chair called the meeting to order at 9:00 am.

The Committee then heard reports from the DC Trip and Quality of Life subcommittees.

DC TRIP (Quinn, Chertok, Diehl, Finley, Hughes, Merritt, Nguyen)

Breese Quinn, subcommittee Chair, reported that the committee has made progress in the arrangements for the Congressional office visits, scheduled for March, and distributed the first pass assignments for committee members. There was discussion of the roster for the trip, and the procedure for getting appointments with Congressional offices.

QUALITY OF LIFE (Diehl, Alton, Finley, Kopp, Merritt)

Tom Diehl, subcommittee Chair, reported that the proposed experiment of having a women's only dorm area in Aspen East begins March 1. This was advertised in Fermilab Today, by email to the Users Organization list, and by requesting experiment spokespersons to relay the news to their collaborations. Checking with the Housing Office, the current status of bookings for the women's only area is that it still has one room free in the area during March, with the other five rooms fully booked.

The Guide to Life at Fermilab is being proofread by GSA members, and should be out within a month, with updates and revisions.

The Wilson Hall email room is open again, sharing quarters with the Computing Division Helpdesk. There are connections that can be used to update personal computers to the present computer security standard.

Recycling for paper and cardboard is now implemented in the village. Bins for metal cans should be added soon.


What are your reactions to the budget for 2007?

Director Oddone reported that he does not have more definite details than the news report. He indicated that it will be important to work on consensus for the proposed increases, given the still very tight budget situation. Nevertheless, it is certainly encouraging to have an increase at the level of the budget request. He urged the committee, on its Washington trip, to show the excitement of our field, as the best route to keep the increase in the budget all the way to the final bottom line.

He mentioned discussions with the ILC Global Design Effort about projects necessary to qualify the technology for the ILC. It is possible to think about a project which would be a clear technological step along the way to the ILC, with significant benefits in terms of verifying performance and costs. Such a project might also be dual-use, and be part of a proton source project which would enable good physics to be done in its own right. This sort of strategy, with some flexibility built in, is important in building a twenty-year view of the Lab's future.

At the EPP2010 meeting, you spoke of the need to increase national and international collaboration on the ILC from the other laboratories. What can be done to increase that international cooperation? What can be done to increase the Lab's collaboration with the university community on accelerator and detector R&D toward the ILC?

The ILC needs to establish a whole new tradition of international collaboration on machines. He is looking at establishing an LHC control room area at Fermilab, which would also break new ground in accelerator cooperation across international lines. He is talking with India and Japan about the ILC, with China about a neutrino program, and Young-Kee Kim will talk with Korea. He feels that the substantial US contributions to Atlas and CMS are noticed, and make a good start to international financial collaboration.

At the All-Hands Meeting on January 27, you again referred to Fermilab's important role as host for US-CMS activities. How do you view the adequacy of the resources available for Fermilab in this role? What issues with the LHC Physics Center would be addressed by elevating its reporting level in the directorate, as suggested in the All-Hands Meeting?

The LPC resources are currently distributed between the Computing and Particle Physics Divisions. Pulling it up a level might make it more coherent and visible. The Director wants a discussion on these points. He wants to consider what the Lab looks like in 5 years - whether there should be more of a project orientation, as opposed to agglomerating divisions. He would like to see debate about how this should be. He mentioned similar reasons for elevating particle astrophysics into a division. But this sort of change can also proliferate bureaucracy, so it should be carefully looked at.

At the All-Hands meeting, you responded to a question from a lab employee who asked whether he/she would be able to join CMS later if that person continues to fulfill his/her responsibilities to the Tevatron program. The same question applies to the university community: what can the Lab do to assist in communicating with the funding agencies? Many university groups wish to stay on to bring the Tevatron or neutrino programs to fruition.

The Director indicated that he will work on fixing, with the funding agencies, the problem of creating disincentives to work on the completion of the Tevatron, and of creating an impression of a time limit on joining LHC programs. He sees that the LHC program will require massive effort, which can use many many people.

There is some pressure from the CERN Director General regarding US contributions to CERN operations. Offsetting this are the facilities which the US provides, in the Tevatron and the neutrino program, to European physicists. But, in the era when US operations ramp down, this may become more of an issue.


Young-Kee Kim will be starting as Deputy Director on July 1.

Will your role as Deputy Director involve a lot of outreach, or be more directed internally to the community? to the lab?

Deputy Director Kim has discussed her role with Director Oddone, and there will be sharing of the Director's list of issues. She will not be taking as large a role in the financial operations as the current Deputy Director does, but will be taking a role in implementing Fermilab's future physics programs. She expects that she will take opportunities (such as her current chairmanship of the DESY PAC) for learning and outreach.

What is the biggest concern you carry into your new position from your previous experiences as a user?

She expects to bring considerable understanding of the users' concerns, and that this understanding will come without extra effort because of her many years of experience as a user, although of course she does not expect to know all users' issues and will want to learn more of them. She will look at who users are, and this will tell a lot about how well the lab is doing.

She was asked, Do you think there is good tracking of the number of users? Can the lab survive ten years with just particle astrophysics and the LPC? Deputy Director Kim stated that the lab's success is the field's success for the whole country.

How would you like to see the relationship of Fermilab and its users evolve in the next few years?

She has looked at the current list of users, and what will happen on this list in the near term future. She feels that the Lab should make a big effort to keep a healthy community of active users, and that this is possible with Tevatron analysis, neutrino programs, an active LPC, astroparticle physics, detector and accelerator R&D for ILC, and more effort in advanced accelerator R&D.

To achieve the desired level of activity in the LPC, it will need to provide a positive benefit to offset the difficulty which university groups will have in staffing three centers of work (CERN, LPC, and their home institution). This significant benefit can be making the LPC a good training center for how to do analysis in the complex LHC environment.

There is ongoing work on advanced accelerator R&D, which could be expanded, and could benefit from more involvement from universities as well. She thinks Fermilab should not repeat work done at other laboratories and universities, but can establish facilities for users.

Deputy Director Kim said that she thinks we can keep a significant number of active users with these different options, and that the Lab needs to work toward this goal to keep a vital user base. She also would like to work toward a goal of having more of the scientists in Wilson Hall, and has had some preliminary discussions of ways to move toward that goal. She has also talked with US CMS about proactive strategies to attract more US CMS users to the LPC, not just those with prior Fermilab connections.

In five years, in addition to the LHC to ILC path, what other Fermilab related particle physics activities do you see as having the potential for being world leaders?

She cited the Fermilab neutrino program, which is not a repetition of the Japanese program but exciting and complementary. She would like to see the world neutrino community endorse that view. She also mentioned that astrophysics does an excellent job. She wants to think more about the connection to universities in this program, and again sees a need to be proactive. She took note of the SNAP collaboration meeting which was held at Fermilab last November.

Deputy Director Kim then asked a question of the committee: How can she communicate with users? She is looking for good ideas.

The committee offered a number of suggestions for communications opportunities, including lunch at the cafeteria, holding informal events (with food) at Wilson Hall, giving colloquia at universities, visiting UTeV, attending the Directors coffee breaks, and attending collaboration meetings. The committee also recommended that such communication be given enough priority to resist the totally packed schedule and applauded her for asking the question.

The Deputy Director finished by saying that she cannot do the job alone, and welcomes input.

Next the committee heard reports from the Users Meeting and Outreach subcommittees.

USERS MEETING (Casey, Alton, Bertram, Kopp, Nguyen, Trischuk)

Brendan Casey, subcommittee Chair, reported that subcommitte goals for the Users Meeting include inviting dignitaries at highest level of government, making the meeting more international, and having more integration with the New Perspectives conference.

In pursuit of the first goal, the subcommittee has invited Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman. They also will be inviting House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Illinois Representative Judy Biggert, and Illinois Senators Richard Durbin and Barack Obama. Robin Staffin of the DOE has accepted an invitation to speak, but a speaker from the NSF is still to be determined.

For the internationalization goal, it is envisioned to look for speakers from Asia and Europe for some of the talks on the ILC, LHC, and neutrinos.

A speaker for a public lecture during the Users Meeting is still being sought.

There will be four invited talks from graduate students during the regular Users Meeting. The New Perspectives poster session will be held on the first day of the Users Meeting, and there will be significant effort directed toward poster recruitment.

The first draft of the schedule was presented.

OUTREACH (Gollin, Quinn, Casey, Kopp)

George Gollin, subcommittee Chair, had earlier sent to the committee a draft of a letter for university vice presidents of research to send to Congressional representatives. The motivation for this letter is to get universities to work together, and to engage universities to help push for greater focus on long-term research initiatives like those needed in HEP.

The next job will be contacting HEP faculty to recruit them to discuss sending this letter with the Public Affairs offices at their universities.


The new UEC web pages are deployed. Users can check them out at http://www.fnal.gov/orgs/fermilab_users_org/


Future meeting dates: Feb 25; Apr 1; May 6
DC Trip - March 7-10
Users Meeting - May 31-Jun 1

Submitted by Wyatt Merritt, UEC Secretary