Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, a partnership between the University of Chicago and Universities Research Association Inc., has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy to operate Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, effective Jan. 1, 2007. The Alliance is a new corporation that was formed in response to the DOE's competition to manage Fermilab and is dedicated solely to the laboratory's management.
Fermilab has been operated for the Department of Energy by URA since the laboratory's inception in 1967, and scientists at the laboratory have made many crucial discoveries about the fundamental nature of matter and energy. The University of Chicago has managed the DOE's nearby Argonne National Laboratory since Argonne's founding in 1946. The DOE's Office of Science is the nation's major supporter of federally funded research in particle physics, and much of the past century's extraordinary progress in the understanding of the elementary structure of matter comes directly from DOE-funded research.
"Fermilab has for decades been the nation's center for research on the frontier of particle physics," said Robert J. Zimmer, President of the University of Chicago and Chairman of the FRA Board of Directors. "With this new management structure, we are bringing together the scientific leadership and management experience of the University of Chicago and the longtime collective involvement of the 90 universities of URA. That combination-along with the capabilities of the scientists and staff of the laboratory-will lead Fermilab into a new era of exploration and discovery."
Said Fred Bernthal, URA President and Vice Chairman of the FRA Board: "Discoveries at Fermilab have helped us understand the fundamental nature of matter, energy, space and time. With the strengths of URA and the University of Chicago now combined, Fermilab will continue to provide extraordinary opportunities for discovery."
Said Piermaria Oddone, Director of Fermilab and President of FRA: "The science of particle physics has never been more exciting. Discoveries are ahead that will revolutionize our picture of the universe. A strong and well-managed Fermilab will be key to maintaining U.S. leadership in particle physics in the decade ahead."
Oddone added that FRA is committed to bringing the International Linear Collider to Illinois. The ILC is a proposed new particle accelerator that would allow physicists to explore phenomena far beyond the reach of today's accelerators. Scientists expect that the ILC, in partnership with the Large Hadron Collider now under construction in Europe, would radically change our understanding of the fundamental nature of the universe.
"Particle physics is entering a new era of discovery," said Barry Barish, director of the ILC Global Design Effort and Linde Professor of Physics Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology. "The newly formed Fermi Research Alliance promises to provide the strong, forward-looking management that will be required for the U.S. to play a leadership role in an increasingly international field. Fermilab will lead the U.S. effort to host the International Linear Collider, the consensus long-term dream of particle physicists everywhere."
While laying the groundwork for the ILC, Fermilab scientists will continue their headline-making discoveries with the Tevatron, the world's most powerful particle accelerator. They also will extend their investigations of neutrinos, mysterious subatomic particles with no electric charge and only the tiniest of mass. The Fermilab neutrino experiments will help to reveal how these elusive particles shaped the universe. In astrophysics, a third major area of the laboratory's research program, Fermilab scientists will further probe the deep connections between the inner space of subatomic particles and the outer space of cosmology.
University of Chicago faculty members and graduate students have been heavily involved in Fermilab research programs since the early days of the laboratory, helping design and build the first detector (the Collider Detector at Fermilab) for proton-antiproton collisions, often leading major experiments, and initiating the astrophysics program and the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory.
"The University of Chicago's role in managing both Argonne and Fermilab will present opportunities for important new synergies between the two laboratories," Zimmer said. Founded 60 years ago, Argonne is the nation's first national laboratory. Argonne conducts a wide range of scientific research for the Department of Energy, including high-energy physics, climatology and materials science. A new Laboratory Collaboration Council, led by the directors of both Fermilab and Argonne, will explore common interests in accelerator science, management and technology transfer.
The FRA Board of Directors for Fermilab includes internationally renowned scientific, academic and industrial leaders, including three current or former directors of major research laboratories around the world and the presidents of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois.
FRA's corporate parents (the University of Chicago and URA) URA's member universities and Illinois universities have made commitments to Fermilab totaling $12 million over five years to support joint appointments and research collaborations, scholarships for children of FRA employees, executive education for FRA employees and joint education programs.
The FRA team includes EG&G, a division of URS Corporation, as prime subcontractor. EG&G/URS will provide support and best practices activities throughout Fermilab.
Fermilab is the nation's preeminent center for high-energy physics and an international center for scientific research in elementary particle physics and astrophysics. The laboratory has a staff of 1,900 employees on a 6,800-acre site near Batavia, Illinois, about 30 miles west of Chicago. Some 3,000 scientists from 260 universities and laboratories in 37 states and 31 countries collaborate in Fermilab's experiments to explore the fundamental nature of matter, energy, space and time, as well as the origin, evolution and destiny of the universe.
Much current understanding of the basic building blocks of nature, as well as the origin and evolution of the universe, has grown from work at Fermilab under URA's management. Two of the six quarks were discovered at Fermilab, and one of the three neutrinos was first detected there. On a vastly larger scale, Fermilab has contributed to the three-dimensional mapping of more than a million galaxies and other celestial objects as a participant in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Fermilab's work also has medical applications. In 1999, for example, Fermilab built a proton accelerator to be used for medical treatment at the Loma Linda Medical Center in California. Fermilab's own Neutron Therapy Facility has treated more than 3,000 cancer patients since 1976.
URA, a nonprofit consortium of 90 leading research-oriented universities, was founded in 1965 to operate and manage research facilities in the national interest. Since 1967, URA has been the prime contractor to DOE for the creation and operation of Fermilab. URA also serves as the sponsoring organization for the U.S. participation in the Pierre Auger Observatory, a 16-nation collaboration of scientists devoted to discovering the source of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays that reach the Earth from space.
The University of Chicago, a URA member university, and one of the nation's leading research universities, has a long and distinguished record in the management and operation of major scientific research facilities. Since 1946, the University of Chicago has been the prime contractor to DOE for management of Argonne National Laboratory. Recently, the University of Chicago, through UChicago Argonne, LLC, won the contract to continue to manage Argonne for the next five years with the option to extend the contract to 20 years based on superior performance. Argonne is located in Illinois' DuPage County, about 20 miles southeast of Fermilab.
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This announcement is issued on behalf of Fermi Research Alliance by the University of Chicago and Universities Research Association Inc.
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