December 22, 2010

As you will have noticed (the news was posted on our website), we received our annual assessment from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science for FY2010. The marks were good. As a team, we have the habit of doing well. Each year, you put out the effort and the results show; our performance in all areas at least meets expectations, and in many also exceeds expectations.

The owners of Jefferson Science Associates, Southeastern Universities Research Associates and Computer Sciences Corp. can earn a modest fee, up to about $3 million for operating the lab. Among other things, this allows them to provide the JSA Initiatives Fund. The fraction of the maximum fee that they receive depends on the laboratory performance. Last year and this, that portion is 94 percent. Excellent!

But grading systems are often a limited mechanism for judging both ourselves and others; they can push our partner, the Jefferson Lab Site Office and the Program Office out of a partnership role into that of a judge. Even when the superstars get 4.5 on a 4.0 scale, they know in their hearts that they were less than perfect. Conversely, when we get an F, it masks whatever we have achieved, which is surely not zero. At this year’s end, I’d like to discuss our engagement. Engagement is a period during which we are committed to doing something. And this year, Jefferson Laboratory has been engaged.

When I joined the lab, we talked a lot about what we were going to do. We were going to start the 12 GeV Upgrade Project. We were going to start the TEDF (Technical Engineering and Design Facility) project. We were going to build and install Q-weak and its target. A little later, we were going to do a series of General Plant Projects, and we were going to purchase some extra computing for lattice gauge calculations.

Look at us now! We are engaged in all of these things.

We worried about how we needed to start more people working on the project. Over a little more than two years, the number of full time equivalents on the 12 GeV Project has risen from about 50 to about 150; human resources has been pretty active. The project is almost 50 percent done. We had a flood and litigation, but there stands Hall D. The design and procurements were bears, but look at those accelerator magnets, cavities and cryomodule parts - a lot of procurements.

Even under the influence of project management, it’s tough to get physicists to declare that they are ready and to start building, but is that the 14th or 20th module of the GlueX barrel calorimeter arriving from Canada? What about that Hall D solenoid? The magnet has worked in physics nearly as long as have I, and at nearly as many laboratories. It was the big problem in two successive Lehman reviews earlier in 2010, but then the mini-review a couple of weeks ago we got it right and the reviewers expressed themselves pleased with progress. This past week, we operated the first superconducting coil at 1200 Amps. Not bad for an old one; just three coils to go.

We worried about how we would be able to execute the TEDF project in concert with all the rest. We planned, cooperated, and are getting it right. Installation of the more than 300 piles, using auger and concrete, is done except for seven, which we will do with power off during the holiday shutdown. During this period, 90 percent of cavities, which we have processed and tested for the International Linear Collider R&D program, also met specifications. This was the stated requirement to declare the project feasible.

How could we and our users expect to run the machine and physics experiments for the Hall B experiments including FROST and DVCS, for HKS, for HAPPEx-III, PVDIS and PREx? And how could we mount and run Q-weak? Indeed, none were easy, but engineering was a major player and the accelerator worked like a dream through FY10. PReX turned out to be one experiment where, for a number of reasons, we did not quite deliver, but the result is still expected to be a world best. Q-weak challenged us all. The apparatus, in general, was a bit of a stretch for the resources assigned and available. The target especially was well beyond the previous state of the art. As a result, the explicit running during the summer was curtailed, but what there was suggested that the detectors were in pretty good shape. Now, in the past week there have been issues with both beam and toroidal magnet. But during the Fall running, new records for current and polarization were set with operation in the region of 160 micro-amps with 89% polarization. The target provided a world record 2.5kw of cooling! (Note the convenience of the beam arithmetic, since an electron carries 1.6 * 10-19 coulombs, even I can figure that to be 1015 electrons per second!!!!)

Oh, by the way, there was ARRA funding for our theorists. They delivered more compute for the buck than expected with their use of graphical processing units, which we discussed a couple of months ago. With GPP funds, facilities transformed, literally, the site and its configuration. Our FEL team was also making waves, ultra-violet waves to be precise. They commissioned their new beam line and their new ultra-violet free electron laser; they are well on the way to characterizing the new light. Finally through education and public affairs, we told our story, 280 people at a public lecture two evenings before Thanksgiving!

We did this all pretty safely, not perfectly, but very very well.

In 2010, Jefferson Lab was fully engaged!

Happy Holidays