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Fermilab | Batavia, IL | USA

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Fermilab’s future bright even with sun setting on Tevatron

Editor’s Note:  Fermilab is getting ready for its annual meeting that draws together many of the 2,311 scientists across the U.S. and globe that work with Fermilab as well as staff physicists and engineers. While it could be a time of sadness and reflection with the Tevatron set to shutdown, physicists are finding that Fermilab still has a lot to offer in terms of exciting, ground-breaking science as Fermilab Director Pier Oddone outlines in his weekly column.

This article first appeared in Fermilab Today May 24.

The 44th edition of the Users’ Meeting will take place on June 1 and 2, and it should be very exciting. The Users’ Meeting is a well-established tradition at Fermilab. Every year it showcases results from the entire Fermilab experimental program, alongside discussions of the lab’s future program and presentations from government officials about policies applicable to particle physics. This year we are very fortunate to have the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, presenting the Meeting’s public lecture at 8 p.m. on June 2.

This year has a special edge as we approach the end of data collection at the Tevatron. This remarkable machine is achieving luminosities considered impossible decades ago with antiprotons — more than 4 x 1032 cm-2sec-1 instantaneous luminosity, with 11 femtobarns of accumulated luminosity recently celebrated.

The Tevatron’s two international collaborations CDF and DZero have many achievements of their own, including major discoveries that have established our Standard Model of particle physics. There is still juice left in the Tevatron and we may yet establish processes beyond the Standard Model if some of the collaborations’ recent results are confirmed. We also have hints of unexpected results in the neutrino sector, with neutrino oscillation data from MiniBooNE and MINOS.

Looking to the future, MINERvA is laying the foundation for understanding different nuclear targets, NOvA construction is proceeding well, and there are new proposals to extend MINOS running. The Dark Energy Survey is nearing completion, better detectors are in development for the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search, and the COUPP dark matter search is operating a small prototype at Sudbury and a larger 60 kg prototype in the NuMI tunnel. Pierre Auger continues to provide interesting results with ultra-high-energy cosmic rays. And the LHC is working splendidly and results are coming out at a fast pace.

We are also in a critical year for two long-term projects, LBNE and Project X. In addition to Project X’s broad Intensity Frontier physics program, it can serve as a foundation for a neutrino factory if one is needed to fully understand the physics of neutrinos. Looking even farther ahead, we are studying the feasibility of muon colliders as a path back to the Energy Frontier.
All this activity augurs a great Users’ Meeting next week.

–Pier Oddone, Fermilab director

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