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Every Tuesday, a new Fermilab Director's Corner appears in Fermilab Today, Fermilab's daily email publication for employees, users and subscribers.

Fermilab Director's Corner Archive – 2014


July 22, 2014
Mu2e moves forward

Today's column shines a spotlight on the next major experiment proposed to be built at Fermilab: Mu2e. The recent P5 report placed Mu2e first in line for construction among major projects, to be followed immediately by the high-luminosity LHC and then by LBNF.

The Mu2e project took a big step forward two weeks ago when DOE approved the CD-3a step in the construction process. Until now, the team had been focused on the development of a detailed design for the experiment, including modifications to the Fermilab accelerator facility and a new hall to house the detector. CD-3a approval means that the team can purchase 45 miles of custom-made superconducting cables for the experiment's solenoid magnets.

July 08, 2014
A new approach

Fermilab's future is looking bright, following the release of the P5 report, which strongly recommends that the United States pursue a world-leading neutrino physics program hosted at Fermilab. Several additional key projects that Fermilab leads or participates in were also endorsed, including the CMS Phase I and Phase II upgrades, Mu2e, Muon g-2 and experiments to study dark energy, dark matter and the cosmic microwave background.

A new approach to our organization is required if we are to be successful in building all of these projects over the next decade while operating the accelerator complex at ever higher power for the neutrino program.

June 24, 2014
A key partnership

We will need to build many new partnerships — and strengthen many existing ones — over the coming years as we strive to turn the P5 vision for our country and our lab into reality. But our relationship with Department of Energy will continue to be most important for future success.

A visit by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to the Chicago area last week provided us with an opportunity to enhance the strength of this key partnership. On Thursday I spoke at a meeting of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board held at Argonne National Laboratory. SEAB, as it's known, is a distinguished group that provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary on all of the department's activities.

June 10, 2014
Communicating and implementing P5

There has been a lot of activity in the U.S. particle physics community and at Fermilab in the two weeks since the P5 report was presented to and accepted by the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel. The work is going forward on two fronts: communicating the report and its implications to our many national and international stakeholders and analyzing how we can best advance and implement the report's recommendations.

May 23, 2014
A new plan for U.S. particle physics

The planning process for the future of U.S. particle physics came to a close yesterday with the presentation of the report of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel. The P5 report lays out a 10-year prioritized strategy for U.S. particle physics that keeps our country — and our laboratory — at the forefront of research and discovery.

With the approval of the members of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel, the P5 report provides advice from our community to the Department of Energy and to the National Science Foundation for the agencies to consider when allocating funding for our field and for individual projects.

May 13, 2014
Center for Integrated Engineering Research

If you attended the all-hands meeting back in February, you may remember the presentation on the Fermilab Campus Master Plan. The plan includes recommendations for consolidating, centralizing and modernizing the Fermilab site, which will help ensure that our infrastructure can efficiently and effectively support the laboratory's mission now and in the future.

The highest-priority facility in the Master Plan is the Center for Integrated Engineering Research, which will house office space for engineering, technical and project staff and users, as well as laboratory, shop and cleanroom space.

April 29, 2014
Cultivating innovation

A new initiative has been launched at Fermilab: the DOE-sponsored Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, or LDRD.

As a participant in LDRD, Fermilab will join other national laboratories in setting aside funds each year for small-scale, proof-of-principle or innovative research projects in science and technology. These funds are open to Fermilab employees who propose to become the principal investigator of an LDRD project. LDRD projects are awarded based on a competitive review process of proposals. The projects must be relevant to the mission of DOE and Fermilab, address innovative science and technology, and must be outside the existing scope of current programmatic activities and projects.

April 15, 2014
Connecting with our neighbors

As of this weekend, Fermilab's celebration of the life and work of famed particle physicist Richard Feynman is in full swing.

On Saturday night, hundreds of people from local communities joined us at the laboratory to kick off this celebration with a concert by Huun Huur Tu: Throat Singers of Tuva, a talk by Feynman's friend Ralph Leighton, and the opening of an exhibit of Feynman diagram art by Yale professor, statistician and artist Edward Tufte. By all accounts the event was a success.

April 01, 2014
A cosmic week at Fermilab

Scientists studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB) have made another large discovery. The announcement of evidence for gravitational waves from the universe's inflationary epoch has a lot of people excited and was the talk of the week among particle physicists at Fermilab. It is truly impressive how much information has been extracted from the light that was generated 380,000 years after the big bang. For a particle physicist, the big question is, "What does it mean?".

March 04, 2014
Neutrino news

This month, we moved a step closer to completing on time and on budget the most ambitious construction project that Fermilab has taken on in the last 10 years, the NOvA experiment. The construction of this project started in 2009. With the help of the Department of Energy, the University of Minnesota, Caltech and many other institutions and funding agencies, all detector modules are now in place. The first segments in Ash River are recording neutrinos from Fermilab accelerator complex. The remainder of the work will be finished this summer. This is a major achievement for everybody involved, and I thank you for your work and dedication.

February 04, 2014
Acting on your feedback

In September an online feedback form was made available for Fermilab employees to submit comments and suggestions on how to make Fermilab a more productive and vibrant place to work. Thank you to the 173 employees who took the time to send many thoughtful ideas. This column will briefly summarize the actions we've taken in response to the feedback that you provided over the past four months.

Almost half of the items you submitted either have been completed or are in progress.

January 21, 2014
Good FY14 budget news

Last week, Congress passed and the President signed into law an omnibus spending bill that will fund the federal government through the end of September. The bill contains good news for U.S. particle physics and for our laboratory.

Funding for the two federal agencies that supply most U.S. particle physics funding — the Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Science Foundation — is up about four percent from FY13. The Department of Energy's Office of High Energy Physics, which provides more than 90 percent of Fermilab's funding, will receive $797 million for this fiscal year.

January 07, 2014
Our focus for 2014

Happy New Year. I hope everyone had an enjoyable break -- there is nothing like the holiday season to clear the mind and recharge the batteries!

The year ahead will be an important one for defining the long-term vision for Fermilab. Here are a few highlights of what we can look forward to in 2014.

The final report from the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5): The U.S. particle physics community’s planning process kicked off last fall with the establishment of a new P5 committee.



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