July 24, 2015
The German research center DESY and SLAC will work closer together in the future: That was the outcome of a meeting of senior managers of both labs who convened July 16-17 at SLAC to discuss a joint strategy for more collaboration.
On the first day, SLAC and DESY representatives talked about their labs’ current research activities and future plans, exposing a variety of commonalities and also differences between the research centers. This led to discussions on the second day that identified areas where the labs can best collaborate with each other.
The meeting’s attendees found plenty of common ground. They compiled a comprehensive list of common interests, including advancements in X-ray laser technology, particle physics detectors, future compact accelerators and computing methods to handle ever-increasing amounts of scientific data produced in X-ray, particle physics and cosmology experiments.
“SLAC and DESY have so many things in common, and we already work on many projects together,” said SLAC Director Chi-Chang Kao. “Meetings like this help us identify how we can work on the most challenging problems even closer and better together.”
Helmut Dosch, the chairman of DESY’s board of directors, added, “The meeting was a wonderful opportunity to openly discuss the potential that the two world-class research centers have together.”
The first DESY-SLAC strategy meeting at SLAC, July 16-17, 2015. Left to right: Michael Fazio, SLAC ALD, Technology Innovation Directorate; Mike Dunne, SLAC ALD, LCLS; Vitaly Yakimenko, SLAC division director, FACET; Joachim Mnich, DESY Particle Physics and Astroparticle Physics director; Norbert Holtkamp, SLAC deputy director; Helmut Dosch, chairman of the DESY board of directors; Kelly Gaffney, SLAC ALD, SSRL; Mike Willardson, SLAC tech transfer chief; Christian Scherf, DESY administrative director; Chi-Chang Kao, SLAC director; Edgar Weckert, DESY Photon Science director; David MacFarlane, SLAC chief research officer; Reinhard Brinkmann, DESY Accelerator Division director; Mark Hartney, SLAC director for strategic planning; Bill White, SLAC deputy director for LCLS Operations; Arik Willner, DESY team leader for business development; Bob Hettel, SLAC deputy ALD, Accelerator Directorate; John Galayda, SLAC project director, LCLS-II; Steven Kahn, SLAC project director, LSST. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
SLAC and DESY share a rich history of collaboration and competition. Founded only a few years apart some 50 years ago, both centers were conceived as accelerator labs for particle physics experiments. Over the years, X-rays – an initially unwanted byproduct of particle accelerators – have become an increasingly important tool for science in both locations. Today, SLAC and DESY are multipurpose labs with similarly broad research programs, including accelerator research, particle physics, cosmology, X-ray science, bioscience, chemistry and materials science.
Cross-fertilization between disciplines has helped both sides to stay at the forefront of science over the past decades. Similarly, developing a common strategy for cross-fertilization between the labs may further advance technologies that both research centers will need for their continued pursuit of groundbreaking science in the decades to come.
The meeting was the first of its kind, kicking off future regular collaboration meetings of the two labs.
SLAC and DESY will now form bilateral working groups to flesh out detailed proposals for more collaboration in the identified areas. Senior managers plan on meeting again next year, this time at DESY, to discuss the outcome of the screening process and put some of the proposals forward.
“The meeting was very successful. It showed how much DESY and SLAC overlap in their vision of the future,” said SLAC Deputy Director Norbert Holtkamp, who set up this year’s meeting. “We now have to turn ideas on collaboration into action. Exchange of staff in strategic areas of common interest will also play an important role in this process.”
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SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.