Test beam facility: 500+ customers and counting
|Components from the MINERvA detector were tested in Fermilab's Test Beam Facility in June of 2011. Photo: Reidar Hahn
The idea of re-using Fermilab's unique Meson Building as a next-generation beam test facility emerged from the kind of meeting where many complex issues and strategies have been discussed, argued and settled one way or another throughout the laboratory's history: Lunch.
In the Fermilab cafeteria, experimental physicists Stephen Pordes and Erik Ramberg were discussing life in general and physics in particular. Pordes mused that it would be interesting if Fermilab had a test beam facility that brought in members of the wider high-energy physics community.
"I just came right out and said I would do it," Ramberg said. So he did.
With support from the Particle Physics and Accelerator Divisions, Ramberg directed the design and installation of a new radiation-shielding wall. The Meson Test proton beam came back up in 2002.
"Then we started advertising for customers," Ramberg said.
No Fermilab project is a solo effort, and Ramberg acknowledged Leon Beverly and Todd Nebel, for their efforts in logistics and materials, and Rick Coleman, the beamline physicist, among many others getting the Fermilab Test Beam Facility open for business.
Since its makeover in 2005, with new capabilities for low energy beam, the Fermilab Test Beam Facility has staged 38 experiments, with 528 collaborators, from 119 institutions in 23 countries. In 2011 alone, there were 13 experiments, including 223 collaborators from 60 institutions in 14 countries.