April 15, 2005  


Director's Corner

By Jonathan Dorfan

Thank you all for coming to the All Hands talks last week. I enjoyed the opportunity to describe the direction that SLAC will be moving in the next few years. I hope the presentation conveyed my personal excitement, commitment and enthusiasm for the wonderful new scientific opportunities that lie ahead. Never before have we had the opportunity of making historic contributions over such a wide range of scientific disciplines. I greatly appreciate the very positive e-mail responses that I received after the talks.

Jonathan Dorfan, Director
Photo by Diana Rogers

The size of the SLAC photon science program will grow dramatically over the next three years, and soon the bulk of our funding will come from the Basic Energy Science (BES) division of the Office of Science. Thanks to the BES-supported LCLS and SPEAR3, our Lab will be at the forefront of understanding of both the ultra-small and the ultra-fast in the disciplines of materials, physical, chemical, biological, environmental and medical sciences. This combination of facilities will make SLAC the world’s premier photon science laboratory. The Ultra-fast Science Center at SLAC, a partnership of the DOE and Stanford University, will provide the intellectual focus for much of the work done at the LCLS and will guarantee that the research at the LCLS is fully maximized and of stellar quality. With the large investment in LCLS, including the anticipated major upgrades in ~2012, the DOE has provided a long and stable future for our Laboratory, one that will produce a scientific revolution in the ultra-fast world.

Although the future in particle and astroparticle science is less certain, it is equally as exciting. The B Factory has three more years of data taking ahead and has major discovery potential for understanding the matter/antimatter mystery. While the facility will shut down for data taking at the end of FY08, data analysis by the BaBar collaboration will continue for several years thereafter. The world HEP community has made the International Linear Collider (ILC) its highest priority and the science case is overwhelmingly compelling. Recent worldwide and U.S. events make me increasingly confident that the ILC will be built. SLAC staff will play a vital role in designing, building and operating the accelerator and the detector(s). The Kavli Institute is expanding rapidly, already attracting the best young minds in particle astrophysics and cosmology to SLAC. The Kavli building, which will be a world center for understanding the revolutionary new concepts that underpin our mysterious Universe, will be completed early next year. Stanford’s large investment in the Ultra-fast Science Center and the Kavli Institute are important examples of the University’s increased investment in SLAC.

We thank the DOE and Stanford University for the confidence they are expressing in us. As our two key stakeholders, they understand that SLAC possesses many unique core competencies—including our most exceptional asset, you the staff. The spectrum of talent at SLAC covers a wide range of scientific, technical and engineering skills backed up by excellent administrative personnel, all with a particularly strong capability for generating scientific breakthroughs. Our staff includes people who provide scientific and technical leadership both nationally and internationally and this leadership abounds in all the key scientific program areas of SLAC: photon science, particle physics, particle-astrophysics, accelerator science and computing.

Maximizing the benefits to the Nation of the increasing investments by our primary stakeholders, accommodating to the rapidly changing balance of the program elements within SLAC and insuring the safest possible workplace for our staff and users requires a new management structure at SLAC. I am engaging the senior management in this issue and I will be sure to keep you informed.

We have an exciting future ahead, filled with opportunities for scientific breakthroughs in many disciplines. The innovative initiatives I described above, the intellectual capital in our SLAC staff and our ability to work with the international user community to ‘mine’ breakthrough-science, will allow us to exploit them to the full. Welcome to a fantastic ride!


The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is managed by Stanford University for the US Department of Energy

Last update Thursday May 05, 2005 by Topher White