Jefferson Lab Gets New Chief:

Leemann takes top post; he was interim director

Physicist Christoph W. Leemann was named yesterday as director of the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News.

Leemann spent the last year as interim director of Jefferson Lab, as the Department of Energy facility is commonly known, and before that was the lab's deputy director and associate director for accelerators.

He also was a leader of the management team that designed and built the $600 million laboratory. Jefferson Lab is a world center for study of the atom's nucleus.

Leemann was chosen for the job by the Southeastern Universities Research Association, a 59-member university consortium that manages Jefferson Lab for the federal government.

"As the new Jefferson Lab director, Christoph Leemann will help maintain the tradition of excellence that characterizes the Department of Energy's science programs," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "The lab's work in turn will help the nation remain a leader in science and technology."

About 1,800 physicists worldwide form the Jefferson Lab Users Group, researchers working to understand the atom's nucleus and its component particles and forces including protons, neutrons, quarks and gluons.

Leeman, a native of Basel, Switzerland, has a doctorate in experimental nuclear physics from the University of Basel. An American citizen, he holds a governor's distinguished professorship at the University of Virginia.

Leemann came to Jefferson Lab, then called the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility, in 1985 from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. There he had been designing and building high-energy accelerators since 1970.

Leemann succeeds Jefferson Lab's first director, Hermann A. Grunder, who left to run a large national laboratory in Illinois.