The Tevatron shuts down for the last time

Thousands of staff members and scientific collaborators flooded Fermilab and watched remotely online from across the globe to see the Tevatron power down one final time on 30 September. Following the shutdown, everyone joined in to celebrate nearly three decades of scientific and technological achievements that have changed the way we understand the world (CERN Courier October 2011 p20).

"The Tevatron exceeded every expectation ever set for it," said Fermilab director Pier Oddone, as the 40-minute shutdown procedure began. "As of this moment, the two detectors, CDF and DØ, have recorded nearly 12 inverse femtobarns of data. The collider has reached peak luminosities of 4 × 1032/cm2/s, producing several million collisions per second. These numbers were considered totally impossible by scientists and engineers back in the eighties when the machine first came online."

The Tevatron was the world’s first superconducting synchrotron, delivering beams to fixed-target experiments until 2000 (CERN Courier November 2011 p28). In operating as a proton–antiproton collider from 1987 onwards, it required the development of the world’s most intense, consistent source of antiprotons and eventually operated 300 times beyond its original design capabilities. The creativity and tools needed for these achievements generated a globally competitive workforce that has gone on to help design the LHC and countless physics experiments.

The discovery of the τ neutrino by the fixed-target programme was one of the main achievements in neutrino physics worldwide. In the collider runs, the discoveries made by the CDF and DØ experiments include the top quark and a whole new family of baryons. The subsequent precision measurements of the top quark as well as those of the W boson mass have laid the groundwork for the search for the Higgs boson.

Shutting the Tevatron down was a bittersweet time for employees and users, many of whom had spent most of their careers making the machine one of the most productive sources of physics research in the world. CDF and DØ will continue to deliver analyses from Tevatron data at an average rate of one scientific paper a week for at least two more years.

• Extracted from an article in Fermilab Today, where daily news about Fermilab’s activities can be found at www.fnal.gov/pub/today/.


Ferroni takes the reins at INFN

Fernando Ferroni has been appointed as the president of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), by a ministerial decree announced on 26 October. He replaces Roberto Petronzio who has guided INFN for seven years.

Born in Rome in 1952, Ferroni obtained his physics degree in 1975 at the University La Sapienza of Rome where he is currently professor. A particle physicist, he worked at CERN first in the 1980s on neutrino experiments and then on the L3 experiment at the Large Electron–Positron collider. At the beginning of the 1990s he began collaboration with the BaBar experiment at SLAC in studying CP violation in the b quark decay.

Ferroni is currently working at the INFN’s Gran Sasso National Laboratory on research into neutrinoless double β-decay with the Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events (CUORE). He is also involved with LUCIFER, a project financed by the European Research Council to build a background-free detector for neutrinoless double β-decay. The author of more than 700 scientific papers, he has been involved in many international committees on high-energy physics.


Womersley takes over at STFC

John Womersley has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) for four years from 1 November 2011.

A graduate of Cambridge and Oxford, he has played a leading role in particle physics both in Europe and the US. He worked at the Florida State University and Fermilab, where he was spokesperson for the DØ experiment, before becoming a scientific advisor to the Department of Energy in the US. He returned to the UK in 2005 to become Director of the Particle Physics Department at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at a time when it was building and delivering vital components to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

In 2007, Womersley took on a broader role at STFC, managing the Science Programmes Office – which oversees the STFC’s science and technology strategy, science operations and planning, including the STFC’s processes for peer review and research grants, as well as STFC’s programmes in education, training and public outreach. He represents the UK in a number of international forums including the Council of the European Southern Observatory and the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures.