Strengthening ties with Indian laboratories
Fermilab staff met with collaborators from four Indian physics laboratories for the first Indian Institutions and Fermilab Collaboration meeting. The Collaboration participants are the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai; the Inter-University Accelerator Center, New Delhi; the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore; and the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Calcutta.
Fermilab's Stuart Henderson received three surprise birthday cakes from the staff at his hotel in India this fall. It wasn't the only enthusiastic reception of his trip.
Scientists from four Indian physics laboratories heartily welcomed Fermilab staff to the first Indian Institutions and Fermilab Collaboration meeting in October. It was a chance to solidify the Indian laboratories' participation in the proposed Project X, and everyone seemed eager to move full steam ahead with the partnership.
"The Indian collaborators are really engaged and energetic," said Henderson, Fermilab's associate director for accelerators. Fermilab scientists were also impressed.
"I kept hearing from those who'd been there before how much progress the Indian labs had made relative to the last time they were there," Henderson said. "It's been phenomenal in both R&D and infrastructure."
With the IIFC, Fermilab gains research partners who may help with the construction of Project X. The Indian institutions, in turn, benefit from Fermilab's R&D on superconducting radiofrequency technology. Their national interest lies in SRF linacs, and particularly in using them in their nuclear energy program. So in contributing to Project X, Indian laboratories also develop their own R&D for this accelerator-driven technology.
"In many areas they have very good capabilities," said Steve Holmes, project manager for Project X. "In other areas, they have to learn, and we're there to help them learn. We encountered a lot of natural enthusiasm for the collaboration, which was nice."
The IIFC meeting was also an opportunity to formalize points of contact on either side of the globe. Many in the collaboration met each other face-to-face for the first time.
"We regard it as a win-win situation," Holmes said. "Collaboration works best when both parties see that there's something valuable they're going to get out of it. Both of us do."