Nigel Lockyer, director of Canada’s TRIUMF laboratory for particle and nuclear physics and a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of British Columbia, has been selected to become the next director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory [Fermilab].
N. Lockyer has a long-standing interest in medical-physics projects, including proton therapy for cancer patients. Initially an experimental particle physicist, he has directed TRIUMF since May 2007. Under his leadership, TRIUMF formulated a vision of in nuclear physics using rare-isotope beams to address some of the most fundamental questions in science.
The appointment of N. Lockyer as director of the Fermilab was approved by the University of Chicago and Universities Research Association, Inc [URA].
“We are delighted that Nigel Lockyer will take the reins of America’s particle physics laboratory,” said Steven Beering, executive chair of URA’s Board of Trustees. “He has shown the kind of forward-looking leadership that we are confident will result in a new round of compelling scientific discovery and innovation at Fermilab and advance the interests of the national and global particle physics communities.”
As Fermilab director, N.Lockyer will oversee operations of a powerful complex of newly upgraded particle accelerators and sophisticated detectors. Thousands of scientists from around the world use Fermilab facilities for their research. In particular, one of the new projects is the NOvA Neutrino Experiment under construction at Fermilab and in Ash River, Minnesota. NOvA will investigate neutrino oscillations, a phenomenon that could hold important clues to the evolution of the early universe. Fermilab is also the U.S. hub for research into the Higgs sector and other phenomena using the Compact Muon Solenoid [CMS] experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
N.Lockyer’s term as Fermilab director will begin in early September. Fermilab Chief Operating Officer Jack Anderson serves as interim director since the 1 July, following Pier Oddone’s retirement.
The president of the University of Chicago, Robert J. Zimmer, expressed his gratitude to the work achieved by P. Oddone “for his eight years of tireless, dedicated and outstanding leadership of Fermilab”.