A new Director for Fermilab

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Nigel Lockyer takes over Director of Fermilab (Image: Fermilab)

Today, Fermilab announced the name of its new Director, and a very good choice they have made. At the end of this month, the very sure pair of hands belonging to Pier Oddone will hand the Fermilab baton to the equally sure pair belonging to Nigel Lockyer. As a result, I look forward to continuing the strong relationship that I have always known between CERN and Fermilab, and I look forward equally to accompanying Fermilab as it continues to make its mark on the world of particle physics in the post-Tevatron era.

Nigel is an old friend, with the peripatetic career profile typical of many in particle physics. Born in Scotland, he studied in Canada and the US and his subsequent career has seen him hopping the 49th parallel from the US to Canada and back. Wherever he has worked, he has always been at the forefront of his field, and has always made a decisive difference.

I have known Nigel for many years, but got to know him really well when I served as Chair of the board overseeing TRIUMF’s five-yearly review, which was initiated soon after he took up the Directorship of Canada’s national lab for particle physics. I was immediately impressed with his commitment to the lab, coupled with his clear strategic vision of the direction it should take. These things came through clearly in the review, which was wholeheartedly approved by the board.  Since then, TRIUMF’s five-year plan has made a clear impact on Canadian physics. The qualities that made it a success are qualities that will be indispensable as Nigel takes up his new functions in Illinois.

The world of particle physics will not be the same without Pier Oddone, whose tenure at Fermilab saw major changes as the Tevatron reached the end of its dazzling career at the high-energy frontier. Pier steered the laboratory through that difficult period, and leaves it in good health for his successor.

Deep ties of friendship have always bound our two laboratories, both of which are essential ingredients in the global particle-physics landscape. We are competitors and collaborators, and long may that continue. To conclude, I’d like to propose a toast to Fermilab’s incoming and outgoing Directors, perhaps with a glass of the 2012 vintage from the Oddone vineyards in California. Good luck to them both in their new careers!

Read more: "Nigel Lockyer of Canada’s TRIUMF lab named Fermilab director" - Fermilab press release