Fermi National Laboratory
Raubenheimer Tapped As Head of SLAC ILC Effort

Tor Raubenheimer has been named head of the new Linear Collider Department at SLAC, as the laboratory refocuses its work on the global design of the ILC in light of the recent decision to adopt "cold" superconducting technology.

Raubenheimer takes over SLAC's former Next Linear Collider Department which, under the leadership of David Burke, had worked to successfully develop the X-band or "warm" technology and study various options for a cold linear collider. In a recent message to the SLAC community, Director Jonathan Dorfan said: "Let me encourage you all to embrace the ILC opportunity with enthusiasm so that SLAC can continue to be a leader in the worldwide community as it moves toward the construction of a machine that will reap tremendous physics benefits after it is completed."

As he took on his new responsibilities (and moved into a new office), Raubenheimer spoke with Fermilab Today about what lies ahead for this new LC Department and for the SLAC community.

Q: Congratulations on your appointment. How would you describe the mission of your group?

A: Our focus is entirely on the ILC. We have a small amount of X-band work to finish up over the next couple of months, then we will be 100 percent dedicated to the ILC. My personal desire is to see that it is designed and constructed in the best possible way we can do that, by contributing the strengths we bring to this new international collaboration. The world has to change, and this has to be a changed idea of a collaboration. Yes, we've worked together with others in the past, but this is a whole new approach to collaboration. We are not bringing in resources to support the lab: we are bringing in resources to support the ILC.

Q: The ILCSC decision must have been difficult to absorb for people working on warm technology at SLAC. How has the adjustment gone?

A: At first, people found it a very difficult decision. A lot of people were surprised. But what I found still more surprising was how quickly people came to grips with the decision, put aside what they had been working on, and started looking toward the future. Some of us had been focusing on X-band for 15 years, with problem after problem that we've worked on. To be honest, many of the problems left in X-band were very difficult, and I'm not sure we knew how to approach them. Now we have the opportunity to work on something new: new technology, a new set of problems, a new set of challenges. That has people excited. There are still some questions as to how we will redirect the R&D program, but for the most part, people are looking forward to the challenge.

Q: What are the first steps in restructuring the efforts of the group?

A: We've had a big change in direction, and we have to reorganize to deal with it. We've held a series of informational talks, from different people in the LC effort here, discussing what they perceive to be the issues. There are elements of the design that are subtle and may not be clearly understood, so it's important to educate people across the group. Next we have to go back and identify exactly what the issues are. The ILC-Americas meeting [going on now] will be part of that process, as well as the upcoming KEK meeting. What are the issues? What can we bring toward addressing those issues in terms of hardware and software development and analytical calculations? And then: Which are the issues that we should be addressing? Which ones should be addressed by people at Cornell or Fermilab? But we haven't gotten to that latter stage yet. Right now, we've gone through the first part and heard a lot of ideas. We're in the process of evaluating those ideas, and what the budget implications would be, before committing to anything. The ILC-Americas meeting and the KEK meetings will help us further understand where this all fits in.

Q: The Fermilab-SLAC collaboration, will become an even more important fit as the ILC is developed. What has been your experience of the two labs working together?

A: I've been extremely impressed with the work we've done with Fermilab. Working together on the X-band RF structures was just a great success. I was very impressed with the people we worked with, and with what they were able to do. One thing to mention -- there has been some sense of tension between Fermilab and SLAC ever since I first came here in 1991. But then, to see people from Fermilab doing fantastic things, doing things that we can't do -- what happens is that the old story about Fermilab-SLAC tension loses all credibility. Having the experience of being able to work with people you haven't known before, and come to understand just how competent they really are -- it's just a wonderful experience.

Q: Speaking of competences -- what special strengths do you feel SLAC brings to the ILC effort?

A: The beam delivery system, for one. We have developed a novel optics design that everyone else has adopted, and the SLC has led us to understand feedback procedures and tuning. The injector system is another place. We've upgraded our linear collider electron source to levels of very high availability and very high polarization, while achieving very routine operation. The positron source -- we have a lot of experience with SLC. Some of that has been negative, but that tends to be good teacher. Working with Livermore, we've learned a lot about damage due to thermal shock issues. Damping rings -- although I see us working largely through Berkeley, because they have a very strong team there. We have an extremely strong group in low-emittance transport, though again, there are very strong people emerging from Fermilab and Cornell. But this is something we've been doing for a number of years, and we can help coordinate efforts there.

Q: Finally, to follow up on a point you raised earlier -- why is an ILC collaboration going to be different from even the biggest collaborations now operating in particle physics?

A: It is crucial for the success of this project that we find a way to not only work together, but to make this a truely global collaboration. People are going to have to make sacrifices, and not just of individual projects. There are many decisions to be made about how to organize efforts and people. Those decisions will involve bringing in the best people -- not just from one lab, or from a group of labs, but from the entire field around the world. In some sense, it will be very much like building a championship sports team. People may have been very prominent in the past, with wide-ranging responsibilities. But to build the best team, some of these people may take on different roles. We'll all have to change, because change is for the good of the entire ILC team.

last modified 10/15/2004   email Fermilab