Fermi National Laboratory

Volume 23  |  Friday, June 30, 2000  |  Number 12
In This Issue  |  FermiNews Main Page

Education: Right On Target

They come from Aachen and Utsunomiya, from Ball State and Yale.

Graduate students from near and far make a pilgrimage to Fermilab to learn the trade of being a high-energy physicist. After years of long working days, writing thousands of lines of computing code, drinking hundreds of cups of coffee and working too many night shifts, they are ready for their recognition:

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

These students are not out for quick riches˝at least at the early stages of their career. They know, of course, that their knowledge and skills are highly marketable in todayÝs technology-driven society. After all, scientists at CERN, one of the top high-energy physics facilities in the world, invented the World Wide Web.

Gone are the days when physicists ponder alone the secrets of nature. TodayÝs high-energy physicists must be global team players, with collaborations sometimes including more than 300 international scientists. Designing, constructing and operating physics equipment consisting of millions of wires and components requires careful planning and management. Deadlines, a word frowned upon by many physicists, have become the norm, as competition has increased for recognition and funding. Together with data analysis and problem-oriented thinking, these aspects of a physicistÝs training have been recognized by companies in industry, finance, computing and consulting.

A thousand degree seekers

From 1983 to 2000 the Tevatron Fixed Target Program provided 465 students from 18 countries the opportunity to earn a masters or doctorate degree based on research carried out at Fermilab. Foreign universities, with Japan, Italy, Brazil and Germany being the top nations, granted about one third of the degrees. In the United States, 63 universities in 30 different states sent a total of 298 graduate students during those 17 years.

Though Fermilab constructed and provided the fixed-target facilities, physics students and their university advisors were the majority of users. Fermilab physicists represented 10 to 15 percent of the members of the fixed-target research collaborations. Additional users came from particle physics laboratories around the world.

The numbers are not yet complete. While data taking ended in January 2000, analysis for some experiments will continue for a few more years. About 50 more students are expected to graduate before the Tevatron fixed-target program will truly be complete. Adding the number of graduates related to the Main Ring fixed-target program (more than 200 from 1972 to 1983) and the Collider Program (more than 300 from 1991 to 2000), FermilabÝs experimental particle physics program has created research opportunities for about a thousand students.

Will any of the former students be around when FermilabÝs Main Injector Fixed Target Program starts in 2003? We expect at least some of them to return ˝ as scientists and Ph.D. advisors.

View table (Page 10 of PDF file)

last modified 6/30/2000   email Fermilab