Passing the baton

It was not only in South Korea that batons were being passed last week. While the cream of the world’s athletes were competing in the World Athletics Championships, the cream of the world’s accelerator scientists were on their way to San Sebastian in Spain for the International Particle Accelerator Conference.  One of them was carrying a rather special baton for a handover of a different kind.


When Fermilab’s Vladimir Shiltsev handed the high-energy frontier baton to CERN’s Mike Lamont on Tuesday, it marked the end of an era: a time to look back on the phenomenal contribution the Tevatron has made to particle physics over its 25-year operational lifetime, and the great contribution Fermilab has made over that period to global collaboration in particle physics. There’s always a lot of emotion involved in passing the baton. In athletics, it’s the triumph of wining or the heartbreak of losing. But for this special baton, there was none of that. Instead, there was a deep sense of friendship and collaboration. It was a time to reflect not on winning or losing, but on working together for the greater good.

When the Tevatron extracts its last beam later this month, the LHC will find itself alone at the high-energy frontier of particle physics, and as our friends at Fermilab know very well, that’s a hefty responsibility. In the meantime, Fermilab will be turning its attention to Project X, an ambitious endeavour to develop ever more intense particle beams. This will be vital for the future development of our field, as we turn our attention to increasingly rare phenomena. Next year is a crucial one for the success of Project X, and as we graciously accept the baton Fermilab has passed to us, we wish the lab every success at the intensity frontier.

On Tuesday 6 September the baton was passed from the Tevatron (left: Fermilab's Vladimir D. Shiltsev
Director for Accelerator Physics Center)  to the LHC (right: Mike Lamont, LHC Operations).


Rolf Heuer