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

Meetings and Minutes

Minutes of the 3 November 2006 UEC Meeting

Attending UEC reps: Barberis, Chertok, Diehl, Kopp, Merritt, Pitts, Polly, Slaughter, Wittich
Attending GSA reps: Jason Koskinen (University College London), MINOS; Kendall Mahn (Columbia), MiniBooNE; Mandy Rominsky (University of Oklahoma), D0; Jennifer Gimmell (University of Rochester), CDF


Homer Neal discussed the status of a HEPAP subpanel charged with studying University programs. The subpanel is in the information gathering stage and will be holding a meeting at Fermilab Nov30-Dec01 with a Town Hall component to gather input from the community. Boris Kayser summarized the recent P5 report. Ralph Pasquinelli described the Bardeen Fellowship, an engineering fellowship designed to attract top notch engineers to the lab. Status reports from the UEC subcommittees were given. The Annual Users Meeting will be June 6-7, 2007.

Introduction to the University Subpanel to HEPAP -- Homer Neal

A HEPAP University subpanel has been impaneled to broadly assess the state of university HEP groups. In addition to establishing goals and objectives for the university grants program, they seek to understand the scientific and technical quality of the work performed at univer- sities, the relevance to HEP worldwide, the adequacy of the manpower and resources available to these programs, how the programs are managed, and the broader impacts on the general community and technological workforce. Some of the specific questions given as examples of the challenges faced are:

  • Should we be concerned about the health of the university programs?
  • Is the current model of the university HEP research group outdated?
  • Is the division of support between accelerator and non-accelerator based research appropriate? What about theory versus experiment?
  • Should accelerator or detector design be lab- or university-based, or both?
  • How does the traditional pattern of support apply in the LHC era?
  • How do we interest undergraduates, attract graduate students, and keep the US HEP pipeline open as facilities are closing?
  • What is the state of theory and phenomenology, and how do universities meet the demand for computing resources?
  • What drives the size of university groups and grants, and do they provide an effective use of resources?

The subpanel intends to accumulate information from now through Feb 2007. After interpreting the data, forming perspectives, and posing solutions, the final report to HEPAP is expected to be delivered by May 2007.

The subpanel is meeting at FNAL Nov 30-Dec 1 where they plan to have a Town Hall forum for university groups to provide inputs. The Town Hall meeting is scheduled for the afternoon of Nov 30 starting sometime between 3 and 4 PM CST. Future meetings of the University subpanel will be held at SLAC Jan 8-9 and MIT Feb 8-9.

Summary of October 13 P5 Report -- Boris Kayser

The Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) is a subpanel to HEPAP charged most recently with proposing an up-to-date 10-year roadmap for elementary particle physics with an emphasis on prioritizing projects over the next five years. After taking inputs from the HEP community, EPP2010, the Neutrino Scientific Assessment Group (NuSAG), and the Dark Energy Task Force (DETF), P5 made their final report back to HEPAP on October 13.

For the purpose of planning continued operations and construction starts, P5 was given two budget scenarios by DOE. The first is a more conservative outlook that was part of the FY07 DOE budget submission, while the second assumes a 7% annual increase. The program recommended by P5 falls within the more conservative budget scenario, with occasional references to additional projects that would be possible under the more optimistic budget. Also of importance to budget projections are the assumed closings of PEP-II at the end of 2008 and of the Tevatron at around the end of 2009. The guidance from NSF was less specific, but emphasized their objective of funding individual investigator grants (>50% of budget) and advancing the case for a Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL).

To prioritize the physics, P5 formed a list of the most pressing questions facing elementary particle physics today, and the possible experimental avenues to resolve those questions. Topics included studying physics at the TeV scale (Higgs mechanism, supersymmetry, extra spatial dimensions, etc.), puzzles in astrophysics (dark matter and dark energy), properties of the neutrino (theta13, Majorana/Dirac, CP violation, sterile neutrinos, etc.), and indirect probes of new physics (muon g-2, CP violation in B decays, heavy flavor physics, lepton flavor violation, and EDMs). The final prioritized recommendations from P5 are as follows:

  • Research at the energy frontier supporting a full range of activities for the LHC program and R&D for the ILC.
  • A near-term program in dark matter and dark energy, as well as a measurement of the third neutrino mixing angle. Experiments in this category inclued CDMS, DES, and Daya Bay. This category also places a prioriy on developing Stage IV dark energy experiments like LSST and SNAP, and R&D funding for DUSEL, along with R&D support for both a large dark matter and a neutrino-less double beta decay experiment.
  • Construction of the NOVA experiment along with the modest associated machine improvements at Fermilab.
  • Construction of an improved muon g-2 experiment at BNL.

All but the last item in the above list fit in the conservative budget scenario. With an increased budget the panel would recommend more vigorous pursuit of ILC R&D, more timely completion of the developmental work on the Stage IV dark energy experiments, and consider a construction start for muon g-2. With the rapid developments taking place in the field, the panel recommends another P5 review towards the end of the decade to reassess future possibilities. For more details, download the final report at: http://www.science.doe.gov/hep/hepap_reports.shtm

The Bardeen Fellowship at FNAL -- Ralph Pasquinelli

Ralph Pasquinelli, head of the RF engineering department, talked to the UEC about a unique opportunity for incoming engineers at Fermilab. The Bardeen Engineering fellowship is intended to attract top notch engineering graduates with a Ph.D. or Master's degree in engineering. Candidates are expected be within one year of graduation, rank in the top quarter of their graduating class, and must have performed some sort of independent research resulting in a thesis. Fermilab provides opportunities in the fields of electrical, electronics, radio frequency systems, power distribution, super-conducting magnets, super-conducting RF cavities, mechanical, materials science, cryogenic, and civil engineering. Engineering jobs at Fermilab can be very rewarding with entry-level engineers becoming responsible for entire systems much more quickly than what is typical in industry. This fellowship is a full- time permanent position at Fermilab. Please pass this information along to your colleagues in engineering. For more information, including a very nice video put together by Visual Media Services under the Advertisement link, see: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/forphysicists/fellowships/john_bardeen/


Government Relations (Breese Quinn)
Members from the Fermilab, SLAC, and the new US-LHC users organizations went to DC October 12-13 to meet with several Congressional offices as well as staff from OMB & OSTP. Fermilab UEC Chair Kopp and Gov't Relations sub-chair Quinn represented the UEC. Visits with Congressional offices included several appropriations and science committee staff, most of whom were fairly positive about the prospects for FY07 appropriations to proceed, even with the possible (and eventual) changes in the House. It was an important message that the House Appropriations bill, which matched the President's request, was consistent with the advice coming from the HEP community and its advisory panels, while the Senate version adds new constraints. This was something we agreed should be followed as the House and Senate bills go to conference this Fall. There was wide recognition that basic research (especially HEP) is at a crossroads in the US and wide support is needed to ensure the US retains the ability to train excellent students.

At the OMB, several questions were posed regarding the recent P5 report, which was released at HEPAP the same morning as the meeting. They wanted more information on the unique science program of NOvA (seen within the world context), more information on the recent Marx subpanel report on the need for more accelerator R&D, and how users feel about the balance of present (astro/LHC/neutrino/TeV) program in relation to the ILC R&D effort. They explained some of the constraints they are working with. They recognized the strong year that HEP has had with the recent MINOS result, CDF/D0 results and luminosity, and the prospects for LHC commissioning.

Quality of Life (Tom Diehl)
The subcommittee met with the GSA and discussed the efforts and unfinished business from last year. The GSA also emphasized the value of having a Career night with an emphasis on professional development in the field. It was also noted that there is not a GSA equivalent for postdocs at Fermilab. The QoL subcommittee has assembled a list of roughly 40 female users who would be interested in participating in on-site sports, and will continue to look into determining the demand for female leagues. Other issues concerning the availability of bikes, public transportation, and health care for visitors are being explored.

Outreach (Brendan Casey)
The outreach subcommittee continues to assemble materials in preparation for local congressional visits.

Users Meeting (Greg Landsberg)
A tentative date for the Users Meeting of June 6-7 has been decided. The Users Meeting will be followed by a New Perspectives Conference organized by the Graduate Student Association. The possibility of a workshop on Outreach was also discussed. Invitations for talks from various dignitaries have been extended, and a list of additional possibilities is being compiled. A competition for graduate talks will be held again this year with a solicitation letter coming in January and a deadline for nomination in March. We again envision a public lecture and poster session.

International Users (Ela Barberis)
The International Users subcommittee had a meeting focused on becoming informed on issues specific to non-US users. The Visa office was contacted to discuss potential Visa delays, and what might be done to expedite the process. They are also exploring an older effort to establish a special scientist Visa. Future initiatives like establishing surveys to discover other overlooked outstanding issues and creating a Wiki page to share information among international users were discussed. The subcommittee is looking into how last year's donation of $1000 was used to improve dorm life for international users, and what might be done with future funds.

Proposed Dates for Future UEC Meetings

  • December 8, 2006
  • January 5, 2007

Submitted by: Chris Polly, UEC Secretary