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SLAC’s B-factory to be terminated in March of 2008 January 7, 2008

Posted by apetrov in Near Physics, Particle Physics, Physics, Science.

As a PI of a DOE grant, I received an e-mail today from Dennis Kovar, Acting Associate Director of the Office of Science for High Energy Physics at the US Department of Energy. This e-mail spelled out the consequences of the disasterous budget for High Energy Physics in 2008. Among other things it stated that operations of SLAC’s B-factory will be terminated in 2008:

“…The sudden and unanticipated work stoppage on NOvA and ILC unavoidably results in collateral damage to the rest of the HEP program. Significant cost savings would require laying off everyone working on those projects immediately. That is not achievable nor desirable. Thus the HEP office had to look for other large non-salary costs that could be reduced to meet the overall budget bottom-line. In the end this came down to a choice between running the Fermilab complex (Tevatron Collider and NuMI) or the SLAC B-Factory in FY2008 (or running both at ~1/2 or less of their scheduled operating weeks). Based on the guidance we have received from the scientific community (e.g.; HEPAP, P5, NAS, etc.), the operation of the Tevatron in FY 2008 has higher scientific priority. Thus the Tevatron and NuMI will operate on their planned schedule, and B-Factory operations will be terminated prematurely. This should not be considered a dismissal of the excellent and important science that the B-Factory has produced, but merely a statement of programmatic priorities in the face of difficult fiscal realities…”

Sounds like a rejection letter (“We had an excellent pool of applicants and although your credentials are excellent, we cannot offer you this position”), doesn’t it? But, as Jafar used to say, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

You can also read or even listen to Persis Drell’s (SLAC’s Director) All hands presentation today, where this situation was discussed. She also puts a date of March 2008 for the termination of the operations of SLAC’s B-factory and announced that SLAC will lay off 125 of its personnel. Also, “The ILC program will be stopped for the rest of this year and faces a very uncertain future.” Yep, desperate times…



1. DOE cuts: bad P.R. ? « Collider Blog - January 8, 2008

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