Illustrious Visitors Good Hosts Real Celebrity

Illustrious Visitors; Good Hosts! Real Celebrity.
June 15, 2015

On a regular basis, the DOE Site Office asks us to update our list of illustrious visitors; often, there is nothing to say. Other times we are inundated. The past few months has seen a fine selection of events hosted by Jefferson Lab, and Jefferson Science Associates and its parent Southeastern Universities Research Association.

This past week, Joachim Mnich, a member of the DESY Directorate and Chairman of ICFA, the International Committee on Future Accelerators, asked for a couple of pictures of Jefferson Lab in the snow. He is preparing a report that will include the ICFA visit here in February; their meeting was confined to the Marriott Hotel in the City Center because eight inches of snow closed the lab. That was the first of a series of events I would like to highlight.

In April, Senator Tim Kaine was in town, and came to visit. He received a briefing from Bob McKeown and then toured the lab. Photographs of this visit are currently featured on our webpage “front page cycle”.

In May, the big show came to Richmond. There, under Andrew Hutton’s leadership, Jefferson Lab hosted IPAC 2015, the big international gathering of accelerator physicists. They were 1200 strong and like the camp followers of old, a strong cadre of vendors of technological equipment was in attendance. Prominent among them were several vendors that have been vital to our 12 GeV Upgrade project. Dignitaries also played a role. Senator Mark Warner was led into the opening reception by the The Fifes and Drums of York Town; and Virginia Secretary of Education, Anne Holton, helped open the conference proper. Thom Mason, Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, gave a public lecture at the Virginia Science Museum, and as part of the conference, Patrizia Rossi hosted a public Women in Science event with an international panel of women physicists. The conference was followed by organized visits to Jefferson Lab by many participants.

Coincident with the IPAC conference, we were visited by members of the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories, CRENEL. Along with their staff, the three members we hosted were Cherry Murray, the John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Professor of Physics at Harvard where until recently she was Dean of Engineering and Applied Sciences, (she is also a former Chair of the American Physical Society); Norman Augustine, former Secretary of the Navy, former CEO of Lockheed Martin, leader of the report titled, “In the Face of the Gathering Storm”, and also a recipient of the SURA Friends of Science Award;, and finally Paul A. Fleury, the Frederick William Beinecke Professor of Engineering and Applied Physics and Professor of Physics at Yale. As well as receiving a briefing in response to their questions, they toured the lab, had lunch with some of our younger staff, and met with the DOE Site Office staff. They were very supportive; we are looking forward to their full report.

The same day as the CRENEL visit, President Timothy Sands of Virginia Tech hosted an alumni event here at Jefferson Lab as a precursor to discussions in the city about the Tech Center initiative led by the Virginia Tech Foundation. This was President Sands’ first visit and we hope not his last.

Later in May, we were visited by Stefano Lami, the Scientific Attaché to the Italian Embassy in Washington DC. Stefano is a particle physics colleague on detachment from the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), and he has been participating vigorously in the development of protocols that will hopefully lead to enhanced Italian participation in physics projects in the US. Stefano was accompanied by Eugenio Nappi and Mauro Taiuti, who are senior members of INFN and oversee the funding received by the INFN groups working at Jefferson Lab.

On May 14, Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam came to visit; Bob McKeown again led the receiving team, and again the visitor expressed how impressed he was with the lab. Still in May, Congressman Rob Wittman, an old friend, visited and met with some of the lab leadership. As well as learning about our recent highlights, he provided a perspective of the way things are seen in DC and responded to a number of questions of interest to us, such as the handling of international visas.

Finally in June, SURA HQ in DC hosted the annual meeting of Working Group 9 (WG9), the nuclear physics working group of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. WG9 organized presentations which characterized the status of nuclear physics across the world and also looked at two topical issues, neutrino-less double Beta decay and the electron ion collider. Associate Director of the DOE Office of Science NP office, Tim Hallman, invited a number of funding agency representatives from across the world. They also met “in camera” to discuss their individual perspectives. This is a step in the direction of increasing the mutual awareness of these agencies and maybe, eventually, to cooperation in funding large nuclear physics initiatives.

So, over the course of just a few months, we have received attention from a large number of distinguished personages, from academia, from international and local politicians, and from local and international physicists. I know that visitors are always, but always, bowled over by the enthusiasm of our staff for what they do; you are very Good Hosts. But in the back of my mind, I can’t help but think that there is one obvious common factor; Jefferson Lab is the Real Celebrity!