June 3, 2005  


SLAC Reorganizes for Major Science Discovery

By Neil Calder

Director Jonathan Dorfan recently announced a complete reorganization of the structure and senior management of the Laboratory. The new organizational structure is built around four new Directorates—Photon Science, Particle and Particle Astrophysics, Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) Construction and Operations. Two of the new Directorates—Photon Science and Particle and Particle Astrophysics—encompass SLAC’s current major research directions.

The new organization chart.

Laboratory Mission

“Our mission is to make discoveries in photon science and particle and particle astrophysics and to operate a safe laboratory that employs and trains the best and brightest,” said Dorfan. “The new management structure adapts SLAC’s outstanding resources to that mission and gives us renewed strength to complete it.” All changes are effective immediately and the reorganization is expected to increase our scientific user base.

“SLAC is a laboratory with a remarkable future, one that represents a transition from its historic role in high energy physics to new frontiers of comparable scientific impact,” said Raymond Orbach, director of the DOE Office of Science. “The combination of SPEAR3 and the LCLS gives SLAC the promise of world leadership in photon science. I am pleased to see this promise reflected in the new organizational structure. SLAC’s particle and particle astrophysics programs are also poised to make discoveries both in accelerator and non-accelerator physics research. It is an exciting time for SLAC, and for the entire scientific community.”

Photon Science Across Disciplines

As director of the Photon Science Directorate, Keith Hodgson has responsibility for SSRL, the science and instrument program for the LCLS (the world’s first X-ray free electron laser) and the new Ultrafast Science Center.

“Photon science is the most rapidly expanding element in the changing balance of scientific foci at SLAC,” Hodgson said. “Three central and interconnected elements—synchrotron-based research using SPEAR3, development and research using the LCLS and four interdisciplinary, science-based initiatives—create a coherent program that, for about 3,000 users, will produce outstanding photon science that cuts across many disciplines. By 2010, no single laboratory in the world will have an equal ability to investigate both the ultra-fast and the ultra-small.”

Poised for Discovery

Persis Drell, director of the Particle and Particle Astrophysics Directorate, oversees the B Factory, , the ILC effort, accelerator research and non-accelerator particle physics programs including KIPAC initiatives and the GLAST project.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for the field of particle physics,” said Drell. “With the B Factory program, GLAST and new near-term initiatives being developed at the Lab, SLAC is poised to make discoveries about the fundamental nature of our universe. Furthermore, we are doing the essential R&D, especially in accelerator research, that will enable the future discoveries of the field.”

Construction of the $379 million LCLS, a key element in the future of accelerator-based science at SLAC, started this fiscal year. A significant part of the laboratory’s resources and manpower are being devoted to building LCLS, with completion of the project scheduled for 2009. Commissioning will begin in 2008 and first science experiments are planned for 2009. John Galayda serves as director of the LCLS Construction Directorate.

Operational Support and Management Changes

To reinforce SLAC’s administrative and operational efficiency and to stress the importance of strong and effective line management, a new position of chief operating officer has been created, filled by John Cornuelle as director of the Operations Directorate. This fourth Directorate has broad responsibilities for operational support and R&D efforts central to the science Directorates. These include environmental safety and health, scientific computing and computing services, mechanical and electrical support departments, business services, central facilities and maintenance.

“I have also asked Hodgson and Drell to act as deputy laboratory directors,” said Dorfan. “I will rely on their experience, expertise, and strength in the scientific areas that they represent. Together with the Chief Operating Officer and LCLS director, we have built a strong management team.”

The new SLAC management team will share a co-located set of offices in the SLAC Director’s Office Suite in Building 40 to encourage the integration of the laboratory’s photon science, particle and particle astrophysics, and operations programs.

Nearly all individual groups and units will remain the same but will be remapped onto the new organizational structure. Maintaining the key work units in this manner will ensure a smooth transition.

Bright Future

Stanford provost John Etchemendy welcomed the changes. “The laboratory has distinguished itself by sensing the most compelling new science and has quickly positioned itself to be a leader in the world research community in photon science and particle and particle astrophysics,” Etchemendy said. “We look forward to strengthening the university’s support for SLAC, especially in the fields of ultrafast science, particle astrophysics and computing. SLAC has a glorious past, but the future looks even brighter.”

For more information, please see the Director’s Office Web site: http://www-group.slac.stanford.edu/do/


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

Last update Friday June 03, 2005 by Topher White