BaBar experiment

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Location
Video conference
Abstract

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Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview dates
May 6 & 25, 2021
Location
Video conference
Abstract

Interview with David G. Hitlin, Professor of Physics at California Institute of Technology. Hitlin discusses his thesis work on high-resolution muonic X-ray studies with his advisor and mentor Chien-Shiung Wu, and his subsequent transition to elementary particle physics at SLAC. He relates his experiences with kaon physics as a member of Mel Schwartz’s group at SLAC and Stanford. As a member of the Richter group at SLAC he worked on the Mark II experiment and then founded the Mark III experiment at SPEAR. After moving to Caltech in 1979, he worked on the SLD experiment at the SLC and then as founding Spokesman of the BABAR experiment at PEP-II. The interview ends with a discussion of his current involvements with the Fermilab experiment Mu2e and the nascent SLAC experiment LDMX.

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

Interview with Jonathan Dorfan, emeritus director of SLAC, and emeritus president of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Graduate University. Dorfan recounts his childhood in South Africa and his experiences with apartheid, and he explains how he developed his early interests in science. He discusses his time at the University of Cape Town and a formative visit he made to SLAC where his older brother was working. Dorfan describes his subsequent studies at UC-Irvine and he explains his interest in pursuing a graduate degree in particle physics and high-energy physics during the excitement surrounding the Standard Model. He discusses his move to SLAC to conduct research with rapid cycling bubble chambers which turned into his thesis. Dorfan describes his postdoctoral research at SLAC with Martin Perl and his involvement with the Mark I and Mark II experiments, and he describes the opportunities leading to his faculty position at SLAC. He discusses the centrality of the B-factory project, and he describes his considerations when he was offered the directorship at Fermilab. Dorfan describes the impact of the rise and fall of the SSC on SLAC, and he explains the leadership positions which at a certain point put him on track to assume the directorship of SLAC. He describes SLAC’s entrée to astrophysics and the strategic partnership it developed with NASA, and he reflects on whether this transition would have been conceivable to Panofsky’s founding vision for the lab. Dorfan describes the changing culture of SLAC and its increasingly bureaucratized nature toward the end of his directorship, his work in support of advancing cancer research at Stanford, and he discusses the circumstances leading to his directorship of the Okinawa Institute. At the end of the interview, Dorfan emphasizes continuity over change as the dominant theme of his career in science with an arc that has increasingly bent toward concerns of broad societal relevance.

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

Interview with Gordon Bowden, Staff Engineer for over fifty years at SLAC. Bowden recounts his childhood in California, Oregon and New Jersey as his father moved around for work, and he explains his interest in physics and his undergraduate experience at the University of Virginia. Bowden discusses his subsequent work at a small electronics company doing research on X-ray diffraction and building equipment for the Space Radiation Effects Laboratory. He describes his subsequent work at Boeing on fluidic development, and he explains his motivations to focus on National Laboratories for his next opportunity. Bowden discusses his initial work in the hydrogen bubble chamber operations group at SLAC and he describes Dick Taylor’s leadership of Group A. He surveys his contributions to DELCO and PEP 1 and explains why SLC was so significant and how the klystron group fit within the overall Lab structure. Bowden explains how LCLS was an outgrowth of SLC and how SLAC became involved in the LSST camera collaboration. He discusses the function of the Technology Innovation Directorate, and he describes his recent work on X-ray cancer therapy. At the end of the interview, Bowden reflects on how SLAC has shifted from its early reliance on visualization in its detectors, which has changed completely as a result of computer analysis.