Vertex 2009 looks to the LHC and beyond

The 18th Vertex Workshop, Vertex 2009, took place on 13–18 September in the Veluwe, a scenic rural area of the Netherlands. The aim of this annual workshop is to foster the open exchange of ideas and expertise in state-of-the-art vertex-detector technology.

The 2009 meeting, with 50 invited participants, began with a broad overview of the excellent state of the silicon detectors at the LHC prior to the restart in November. Cosmic-ray data have shown that the sensors work with high efficiency and low noise, and that there is already a deep understanding of calibration and alignment issues.

Even though the LHC is just getting going with collision data, a significant number of silicon-detector experts are already moving towards the development of the next generation of LHC detectors. The expected high particle fluence at the Super LHC – the luminosity upgrade – requires new developments in both sensors and front-end electronics (CERN Courier July/August 2008 p17). Materials budgets are also crucial in this respect, so the workshop included presentations on powering and cooling technologies.

New sensor and processing technologies from high-energy physics continue to strengthen their link with applications in space and medical imaging. Integration of functionality and the assembly of large systems with high granularity are common aims for these applications, as well as for use in a future linear collider.

Extended lunch breaks allowed for lively discussions around the centrally located espresso bar and fireplace. Participants were invited for a very “Dutch’" excursion on the Wednesday: a regatta of four groups sailing in 100-year-old wooden fishing vessels. The rain stopped for the day and most participants enjoyed the fried fish and tried the raw (not red!) herring.

The next Vertex Workshop will continue the tradition of waterfront venues. It will be held at Loch Lomond in Scotland on 6–11 June.

• Presentations from Vertex 2009 are available online at www.nikhef.nl/pub/conferences/Vertex2009/index_talks.html. The workshop proceedings will be published in the open-access journal Proceedings of Science in April.


Victor Yarba celebrates his 75th birthday

Victor Yarba, an internationally renowned leader of frontier accelerator projects in Russia and the US, as well as a fosterer of international collaborations and education programmes, celebrated his 75th birthday on 1 February.

Yarba began his scientific career in 1958 at JINR in Dubna as a researcher in particle physics. In 1969 he moved to the Institute for High Energy Physics (IHEP), Protvino, where he remained until 1992. His international reputation developed mainly during this period with research that included the discoveries of 2He8 and double charge-exchange of pions on nuclei; kaon and neutrino interaction measurements with the Big European Bubble Chamber at CERN, the MIRABEL bubble chamber at IHEP and the 15-ft bubble chamber at Fermilab, as well as accelerator technology. In 1974 he became the first-deputy director for research at IHEP, a position he held for 18 years.

In the years 1983–1992 Yarba was project manager of UNK, the 3 TeV accelerating and storage complex at IHEP. There he built a strong team of physicists, engineers, designers and technicians to develop the project, from a conceptual stage through essential R&D to the final engineering design. He had a particular interest in superconducting-magnet technologies and his team developed and started fabrication and testing of superconducting magnets for UNK, in particular 6-m long 5.5 T NbTi dipoles. Although most of the high-quality equipment for the injection chain was built, as well as 18 km out of the total 21 km of the UNK tunnel, the project was unfortunately terminated gradually as a result of economic problems in Russia.

During his IHEP years, Yarba was head of the high-energy physics department of Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. He was also involved with many national and international committees, being for example co-chair of the CERN–Minatom Joint Scientific Committee (1974–1980).

In 1992 he moved to the Superconducting Super Collider laboratory in Texas. After the collapse of the project, he joined Fermilab in 1994 and is currently an associate head of its Technical Division. He has had key roles in the magnet programmes of many projects at Fermilab including the Main Injector and the Recycler, as well as design and fabrication of muon chambers for the CMS experiment at CERN and RF R&D for linear colliders.

Yarba has initiated several key educational activities, such as the PhD programme at Fermilab, involving a consortium of eight US universities and Fermilab to attract and support the best PhD accelerator students, and an educational unit at Fermilab for Accelerator Physics and Technology.


Italy and JINR sign memorandum

An Italy–JINR round-table discussion has led to a memorandum that aims to boost scientific and technical collaboration between Italy and Russia. Held at JINR in Dubna on 18–19 December 2009, the meeting brought together about 50 participants including Italian and Russian scientists, as well as scientists from JINR and official representatives from other institutions. The event, “Efforts in fundamental research and perspectives for applied science and technology and business development", was co-organized by the Italian embassy in the Russian Federation and JINR. It was co-chaired by Pietro Frè, the scientific counsellor at the Italian Embassy in Moscow, and Alexei Sissakian, the director of JINR and member of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The aim of the round-table discussion was to obtain a multifaceted review of the historical development of Italian–Russian and Italian–JINR collaborations, as well as perspectives for future developments and, last but not least, news from ongoing research projects. A distinctive feature of the event was the presence of researchers from more abstract areas of contemporary science, notably string theory, gravity and pure mathematics, together with others from the fields of experimental physics, biophysics, applied science and technology. This was done to strengthen the bridge that should connect these two areas, so as to promote the fast propagation of ideas that could be helpful for innovation – from academic institutions to technological laboratories.

The main result of the discussion was a memorandum approved by all the participants. This document, which was officially translated from English into Italian and Russian at the Italian Embassy, comprises a list of 16 recommendations to Russian and Italian authorities responsible for the organization and financing of science, concerning what the round-table discussion regarded as the best practices for maintaining and boosting scientific–technical co-operation between the two countries. Highlights from the memorandum concern, in particular, the official restoration of Italy as an associate member state of JINR and the support from the participants for the development of the NICA/MPD collider project at JINR (CERN Courier January/February 2010 p13). Italian participation was considered to be very important in this venture and mutually beneficial for the scientific communities of both countries. Other key topics mentioned in the memorandum relate to the opening of Italian–Russian–JINR collaborations in the fields of radiation and RNA-biology, nanotechnologies and Grid-technology developments. In addition it enumerated various on-going and newly planned educational and scientific programmes, to be jointly run by Italian–Russian–JINR institutions.

The trilingual version of the memorandum has been sent by the Italian Embassy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation for distribution among top governmental agencies and scientific institutions, in particular, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Federal Agency of Science and Innovation, the committees on Science, Technology and Education of both branches of the Russian Federation parliament, the Russian Academy of Sciences, Rosatom, Moscow State University and the Kurchatov Institute. It has also been sent to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for distribution among the main Italian scientific agencies, including the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics, the National Research Council and the Italian Space Agency

• For more about the meeting, and for the full text of the memorandum, see http://theor.jinr.ru/meetings/2009/rt/.