Fermilab names Nigel Lockyer as new director

Nicola Jones in Nature:

Nigel-Lockyer-lowres-204x300Fermilab’s major project, the Tevatron, shut down in 2011. Is the lab past its glory days?

Absolutely not. There’s half a dozen really interesting questions where Fermilab can play a really interesting role. We’re looking to have a flagship programme where we can ‘own the podium’, as they said in Canada during the Olympics.

What will that flagship be?

This is determined by the international landscape. Europe is really focusing on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). They say if you want to study neutrinos, talk to the US or Japan. So what Fermilab is pursuing is the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE). I personally find the science there very inviting. One issue is charge parity violation, looking to see if neutrinos are different from anti-neutrinos. This could broach completely new ground. The second goal is to look at proton decay, which gets into Grand Unified Theory questions. The third thing is people are very interested in detecting neutrinos from supernovae.

What the US government has given a bit of a green light to is a detector on the surface that I would argue is too small. I’d like to make it twice as big and put it a kilometer underground. The challenge is to work with European and Japanese colleagues to see if we can do that.

More here.