Cherenkov radiation

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Teleconference
Abstract

Interview with Stephen Williams, formerly Assistant Research Director of SLAC. Williams describes his connections with SLAC since his retirement in 2011, and he recounts his childhood in Michigan and his early fascination with electronics. He explains his reasons for attending the University of Michigan, where he majored in physics and where he determined he would go to UC Berkeley for graduate school to work with Victor Perez-Mendez on magneto-strictive readouts for wire spark chambers. Williams discusses his postdoctoral work at SLAC working with David Leith, and his subsequent research on head coils and software in nuclear medicine at UCSF. He describes the research mission of Group B at SLAC and the Cherenkov technique, and the opportunities that led him his management position as director of engineering and as an engineering manager for Diasonics. Williams describes the change in leadership from Burt Richter to Jonathan Dorfan, and the circumstances of becoming as Acting Research Director. He discusses the safety protocols that needed to be improved in consultation with the DOE, and at the end of the interview, Williams reflects on the ways SLAC has stayed true to Panofsky’s original vision.

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

In this interview, Harvey Lynch, retired and formerly Assistant Director in the Research Division of SLAC is interviewed by David Zierler. He recounts his upbringing in California and his early interests in science, and he describes his undergraduate experience at MIT, where David Frisch proved to be a formative influence for his work in particle physics. Lynch discusses his work at the Cherenkov light ring, and he explains his decision to pursue graduate work at Stanford to work with David Ritson on inelastic electron-proton scattering. He describes the origins of SLAC, and he cites the mysteries surrounding quarks and SU3 symmetries as among the most important research questions in the field at that time. Lynch discusses his motivation to do postdoctoral research at CERN, where he worked with Carlo Rubbia on CP violation, and he recounts Burt Richter’s offer to join SLAC in 1968. He describes his early work on planar spark chambers and his longtime involvement in the SPEAR project which aimed to take a new approach to elementary particle physics. Lynch details the operational and technical challenges to get SPEAR up and running, and how it epitomized SLAC’s independence in making internal decisions without DOE approval in the early days of the Lab. He describes witnessing the “November Revolution” of 1974 and what this meant for SLAC and particle physics generally. Lynch explains his decision to join the PETRA collaboration and the TASSO detector at DESY. He describes his reasons to return to the U.S., first at UC Santa Barbara until he was recruited back to SLAC, where he witnessed significant changes as a result of Burt Richter succeeding Wolfgang “Pief” Panofsky as director. Lynch discusses his concurrent work on PEP physics, SLC design work, and the proposal for the international SLD project. He explains his work with the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford and his involvement with the SDI defense initiative, and he describes his involvement in the design phase of the SSC project. Lynch offers a post-mortem on the SSC cancellation, and expresses relief that he was able to return to SLAC, where he joined the BaBar project and served as chairman of the Radiation Safety Committee. He describes his last seven years at SLAC during which he worked exclusively on administrative matters, and at the end of the interview, Lynch discusses his work for the National Academy of Science to study boost-phase missile defense. 

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

Interview with Daniel R. Marlow, Evans Crawford Class of 1911 Professor of Physics, at Princeton University. Marlow recounts his childhood in Ontario and his father’s military appointment which brought his family to the United States when he was fourteen. He describes his undergraduate experience at Carnegie Mellon and the considerations that compelled him to remain for his graduate work in physics. Marlow describes his thesis research under the direction of Peter Barnes and his research visits to Los Alamos, Brookhaven, and JLab, and he surveys the theoretical advances that were relevant to his experimental work. He explains his decision to stay at CMU as a postdoctoral researcher and as an assistant professor, and he describes his interests which straddled the boundary between particle physics and nuclear physics. Marlow describes the opportunities leading to his faculty appointment at Princeton by way of the research in k+ and pi+nu nu-bar experiments at CERN. He discusses his involvement in planning for the SSC, and how the Gem collaboration was designed to find the Higgs and supersymmetry before the LHC. Marlow discusses the e787 experiment and the lesson gained that rare kaon decay experiments are more difficult than they appear at first glance. Marlow describes the origins of the Belle project in Japan at KEK and its relationship to BaBar, and he explains how finding the Higgs was the capstone to the Standard Model. He surveys the current state of play in experimental particle physics and why he encourages students to follow their interests without overly analyzing future trends in the field. At the end of the interview, Marlow describes his current interest in studying displaced vertices and long-lived particle searches, and he muses that toward the end of his career, he wants to become more of a “graduate student” so that he can focus more exclusively on the physics that is most compelling to him.