A Month to Remember

A Month to Remember
June 12, 2012

For Jefferson Lab management and for lab itself, May 2012 was quite a month with a number of striking events.

Early in the month, we had our biannual Science and Technology review. Due to quirks in the schedule, it was the first such review since 2009. DOE brought in a number of consultants, faculty and staff from several different parts of the world of accelerators and nuclear physics for the review. We do not yet have their formal report, but we were provided a closeout presentation with findings and comments and, in principle, recommendations. The comments were dominantly positive and there was just one recommendation: We were asked to prepare a document laying out our plans for theory and explaining how we are playing in the worldwide approach to a rigorous understanding of hadronic physics. Some of the consultants were past users of Jefferson Lab, and they were manifestly impressed by the advances the lab has made on many fronts.

On May 18, we held a brief ceremony in the Machine Control Center. Under the guidance of Arne Freyberger, head of accelerator Operations, we hit the switches to terminate the 2012 nuclear physics run and, in turn, to bring an end to the 6 GeV era of CEBAF operations. The honorary shift crew and program deputy Bob Legg, Mike Spata, Noel Okay and Reza Kazimi, respectively, had been the team when CEBAF first circulated beam, and Christoph Leemann, head of accelerator at the time, and Andrew Hutton, accelerator AD now, also attended. During the last weeks and days, and even hours of running, victory was sealed for a number of experiments and tests. Not least among these was an hour-long run with 108 Megavolts and a beam current of 465 micro-amps of one of the new upgrade cryomodules; these are the performance specifications for the upgrade. The upgraded machine will, indeed, be 12 GeV! To cap off the run, the following day, we held an Open House which was attended by something like seven to eight thousand friends old and new from the general public. The diversity and evident enjoyment young and old of the crowd was inspiring.

Bookending the weekend, Bob McKeown and I were able to attend the E.O. Lawrence Award ceremony in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. The ceremony was chaired by Pat Dehmer, deputy director of the Office of Science, and the awards were made by Secretary Chu. Matt Poelker of our source group was one of the recipients, and he used his acceptance speech to express his appreciation of all of his group and others at the lab.

Every quarter, we also present our credentials - the achievements we have made within the framework of the Performance Evaluation Management Program. So the day following the Lawrence Awards, we made our mid-year presentations to the Thomas Jefferson Site Office team. As had been the case for the S&T review, the comments we received in feedback from DOE were largely positive and supportive. It is good that we are able to work in partnership with Joe Arango et al to deliver on our program at the lab.

We finished the month with a glorious Memorial Day weekend …. well, not exactly. On Memorial Day, several of us, including Jerry Draayer and Sharon Hays from the Jefferson Science Associates board of directors, travelled our various ways to Washington to appear bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the Forrestal Building foyer at 8:30 am on Tuesday, ready for our annual presentation of the laboratory plan to the head of the Office of Science, Bill Brinkman. In attendance were Bill’s deputies, Pat Dehmer and Joe McBrearty, our site office manager (Joe Arango ), and all the associate directors of the Office of Science, in particular, Tim Hallman from Nuclear Physics. The presentations went extremely well; again, the comments were largely positive.

When it’s happening and you are deep in the fray, you don’t have time to reflect. But when I started to write the report I send each month to the JSA Board, it became clear. With all these presentations, I am lucky that Bob McKeown and Mike Dallas do a lot of heavy lifting. For example, Bob was on point in organizing the S&T Review and the SC presentation, and Mike led the PEMP and was a big part of the others. But of course, the real credit for things going well as they manifestly did this month goes to every one of our staff and users. It’s a winning team.

May 2012 will stick in the memories of many of us.