Looking back: Reflections on the beginning
Left to right: Ned Goldwasser and Jim Sanford receive thank you gifts from UEC chair Sacha Kopp for speaking at the 40th annual Users' meeting.
Attendees at the 2007 annual Users' meeting excitedly filed into the auditorium on Wednesday afternoon to hear some of Fermilab's pioneers paint a picture of the lab's early years.
Ned Goldwasser, Fermilab's founding deputy director, said returning to Fermilab was nostalgic. "Professionally speaking, my eleven years here were the best in my life and surely the most exciting," he said.
In honor of the 40th anniversary of the first Users' meeting, Goldwasser spoke about Fermilab's history and his experiences from the early years. He also discussed Robert Wilson's role in development of Fermilab, then called the National Accelerator Laboratory, and how his guidance shaped the lab into what it is today.
"I think without [Wilson], this laboratory would not be here," Goldwasser said. "I toast him and I toast all of you who are here doing physics experiments today. And I wish you all the best of luck in the future to keep doing important physics for the years that still remain."
James Sanford, the first chair of the NAL Users' organization (which, became the Fermilab Users' organization) and the lab's former associate director for program planning, spoke about the first Users' meeting at Argonne National Laboratory.
In 1967, interested scientists gathered at Argonne to hear about the plans for the new accelerator. "Some of them expressed desire to have a Users' organization right from the beginning so that their interests, concerns and enthusiasm could be harnessed for this project," Sanford recounted.
Attendees at the 1967 meeting decided that there should be a core group of Users who would meet regularly, and the Users Executive Committee was established. "It included a strong group of members who pledged to help the laboratory succeed as a national accelerator facility," Sanford said.
Sanford applauded the role users have played in Fermilab's development. He said the users' support in the early years and their continued support today "is an important element to this laboratory and to this country."
-- Amelia Williamson