Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fermilab Has A New Director

Nigel Lockyer will have the unenviable and difficult task of guiding Fermilab through its most challenging period in its entire history of existence. He has just been named as the new Fermilab Director, taking over from the retiring Pier Oddone.

Times are tough at Fermilab, which employs roughly 1700 people. Its budget for this year is $366 million, down from $397 million in 2010. The lab has cut staff members in recent years. Most important, although Fermilab has a number of intermediate scale projects going on now, its future a decade down the road remains uncertain. 

I don't know to what extent many of these things are within his control. He has to work and guide the lab with whatever the politicians throw at him. It is the politicians, and to some extent, the public, who need to realize the importance of such science and want to fund it.

But to ask the politicians and the public to think about long-term benefits rather than short-term, instant gratification is almost an impossible task.


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