High-powered leadership for high-powered proton source

The new project director for PIP-II, Lia Merminga, is an internationally renowned accelerator physicist with leadership experience at three science laboratories.

Excerpted from the Fermilab article Lia Merminga to lead Fermilab’s next accelerator project, 12 March 2018.

The first particle accelerator to be built in the United States with significant contributions from international partners is taking shape at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

The Proton Improvement Plan II (PIP-II) is Fermilab’s project to provide powerful, high-intensity proton beams to its experiments, including the flagship Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility and Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

On March 1, Lia Merminga took on the role of project director for PIP-II. She was most recently associate laboratory director for accelerators at DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and a professor at Stanford University. Before that she served as director of the Center for Advanced Studies of Accelerators at DOE’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia and head of the Accelerator Division at Canada’s TRIUMF laboratory.

Merminga succeeds Fermilab physicist Stephen Holmes, who will retire later this year.

“I’m excited to join Fermilab and to work with the PIP-II team,” Merminga said. “Steve has done an outstanding job laying the foundation for PIP-II over the last few years, and Fermilab has an excellent reputation in developing and implementing advances in accelerator technology. I look forward to continuing Steve’s good work in upgrading our accelerator complex for the next generation of experiments.”

Merminga has more than 25 years of experience in accelerator construction and superconducting radio-frequency, or SRF, accelerator technology, the technology of choice for many current and future particle accelerators. The heart of PIP-II will be a new 800 million-electronvolt superconducting linear accelerator, which capitalizes on Fermilab’s expertise in SRF technology. It will replace the laboratory’s current linear accelerator, ramping up beam energies to double that of its predecessor.

The opportunity to partner in this cutting-edge accelerator project has attracted the interest of countries around the world, including France, India, Italy and the UK.

“Developing these technological innovations along with our partner institutions is key to PIP-II’s success,” Merminga said.

The PIP-II group works closely with the team building Fermilab’s LBNF, which provides the infrastructure to support DUNE.

“Lia’s work with accelerator construction and SRF is highly respected, and she brings a wealth of experience to Fermilab,” said Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer. “We are pleased that she is joining us to lead the PIP-II project, which will allow powerful, high-intensity proton beams for Fermilab’s accelerator-based neutrino experiments.”

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