A new face at DOE
|Michael Salamon is a program director for dark matter experiments at DOE's Office of High Energy Physics.
Science doesn't happen in a vacuum. Experiments require support and oversight. They also require a liaison between laboratories and agencies that fund them.
For many working on dark matter projects, Michael Salamon is that liaison. He's the new program manager for dark matter experiments at DOE's Office of High Energy Physics. Having combed the skies for evidence of the existence of neutralinos decades ago, he now combs proposals and budgets so others may advance the Cosmic Frontier.
As an astrophysics professor at the University of Utah in the late 1980s and '90s, Salamon was a member of the Fly's Eye collaboration, which measured the energies of ultra-high-energy cosmic ray showers. His research program also included suborbital searches for cosmic antimatter and theoretical work in high-energy particle astrophysics.
He was also a public advocate for the use of space-based observatories for fundamental physics investigations. That caught the ears of people at NASA, who recruited Salamon in 2001 to head a new program, Fundamental Physics In Space, which later became the Physics of the Cosmos Program.
"It was traumatic to leave academia, but it was with the idea of providing a valuable service to the science community," Salamon said.
For nine years he oversaw research and development for projects such as the Joint Dark Energy Mission and the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.
Last May he joined DOE, where he's in charge of a full portfolio of non-accelerator experiments at the nation's five major high-energy laboratories. As program manager, Salamon evaluates experiments, distributes resources and, during rough patches, conducts triage.
"He knows the details of the science of the experiments and has lots of experience with how government works," said Kathy Turner, with whom Salamon co-manages the non-accelerator program. "We're happy he's here."
Salamon still channels his inner professor, volunteering his time to teach physics at George Washington University. As is the case with his current position, it's the love of sharing science that drives him.
-- Leah Hesla