As Fermilab's new Deputy Director, Young-Kee Kim sees a critical assignment for the lab that now holds a central focus in world-wide high-energy physics. "We will search in every corner to find new physics," she said. "The Tevatron has the best potential for making discoveries." Her overall goals: "To keep the lab a great place and a safe place to work, a great place for science, and a great place for the public that supports us."
Kim will take on her new role as Deputy Director on July 1. Fermilab Director Pier Oddone made the announcement at Friday afternoon's all-hands meeting in Ramsey Auditorium, lauding Kim for the scope of her experience, her high regard within the international community, her organizational abilities, and her high-energy personality.
"I met Young-Kee on the first day she arrived at Berkeley Lab as a postdoc [in 1990]," Oddone recalled. "I was the Deputy Director then, and she popped into my office and told me all the things we were doing wrong and how they should be corrected. She had a brilliant career there. She really stirred up her department and got people thinking again. I'm very excited about this appointment."
Kim succeeds Ken Stanfield, who has served as Deputy Director since 1989, and had advised Oddone that he would like to step down. Stanfield will take on new duties for Universities Research Association, Inc., overseeing preparations of the proposal to continue managing the lab for the US. Department of Energy. URA has managed the lab since its inception. The current management contract expires on December 31, and DOE has invited Expressions of Interest as a prelude to opening the contract to competitive bidding. Oddone paid tribute to the many avenues of Stanfield's contributions since joining the lab in 1977.
"He joined the lab as a scientist and experimenter, and in true Fermilab form, has held many administrative positions in different areas," Oddone said. "He was even head of Business Services, in addition to being head of the Physics Division. We all owe Ken tremendous gratitude for his many years of service."
Oddone's presentation also included a description of "the state of the lab," noting a new website to answer suggestions from employees regarding administrative restructuring. Suggestions can be sent to a new email address firstname.lastname@example.org set up specifically for that function.
Kim, who is married to University of Chicago condensed matter physicist Sidney Nagel, will continue teaching courses for a maximum of 10 weeks per year at U of C. She has been a Guest Scientist at Fermilab since 2000, but her lab history extends back to 1990 as a Berkeley Lab postdoc working on the CDF calorimeter (her PhD was from the University of Rochester). She later worked on the drift chamber ("I put my heart into it," she recalls); eventually, she took on responsibilities for commissioning the CDF detector for Run II. In 2004, she was elected CDF cospokesperson, currently sharing that role with Rob Roser. Roser also worked with Kim throughout the reconstruction of CDF during the Run II upgrades. "She's a bundle of energy and she's tremendously optimistic," Roser said. "She's so self-confident. She always has a plan and she knows how to get there. And she always makes you feel that you want to be part of that plan. I am thrilled that she has this appointment, and I know this is going to be a great step for the lab."
Mel Shochet of the University of Chicago, a longtime colleague at CDF, said he could not think of a better deputy director than she. "I observed Young-Kee as a CDF collaborator when she was a postdoc and then faculty member at Berkeley, and of course more recently as a colleague at Chicago," Shochet said. "Young-Kee has broad experience with detectors as well as physics analysis and was part of a small group that worked to understand the issues involved in the ILC technology choice and how the US community was positioned. She has also been on national and international planning committees. Perhaps most important for a Deputy Director, Young-Kee is very proactive and interactive. When a problem arises, she makes sure she understands it fully and then finds the best people to solve it quickly. I don't know of anyone who has successfully said no to her!"
Kim has been an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1997) and an APS Fellow (2004). She has served on the Fermilab Long Range Planning Committee, on HEPAP, and as chair of the search committee for the High Energy Division Director at Argonne. Her work in precision measurements of the W boson and the top quark served as the basis of her 2005 Ho-Am Award in Korea, the first woman to be cited in science, engineering or medicine since the award was established in 1990 by Samsung chairman Kun-Hee Lee.
Robin Staffin, Associate Director-High Energy Physics, DOE Office of Science, said he met Kim at the first HEPAP meeting for which he was seated at the main table. "I wondered who this energetic ball of fire was, this interesting, engaging person, and did she ever stop talking?" Staffin recalled. "I knew I could definitely not fall asleep during this kind of HEPAP meeting. I look forward to working with her."
Kim displayed a slide of Korean calligraphy presented to her by her father, which says in translation: "Respect the Truth of the Universe, Love People." One of six children raised on a farm in Kyeong-Book, Korea, Kim paid tribute to her parents, who "went through great financial hardship to make sure we received an education." She also thanked "the public and the funding agencies, for their constant support even in these difficult times." Referring to Fermilab's nearly 3,000 users, she asserted that "keeping and attracting users is the key to keeping the lab successful and vital."
As cospokesperson at CDF, serving with first Luciano Ristori and then with Roser, Kim saw her leadership priorities as "encouraging and energizing people," and keeping the collaboration focused as "one team with one goal" working smoothly to achieve the best possible physics results. With her term nearing completion, she had begun to anticipate a return to her immersion in day to day physics research.
"I was geared up to going back to that life," Kim says, "but then Pier asked me to be the deputy director. My first response was, 'Why are you asking me to do this? You are making me confused!' But I know that our field needs senior people to lend their skills and experience to setting the future direction, and I would like to be involved in that future direction. This lab holds such a special place now in particle physics, and it is strongly tied to the entire field of high-energy physics. I respect Pier in so many ways, and I thought that working with him would be a really excellent opportunity to develop the future plan for the laboratory and the entire field."