Director's Corner

7 June 2007

Brian Foster

LCWS 2007 & ILC 2007

Today's issue features a Director's Corner from Brian Foster, GDE European Regional Director.

Hamburg put on its best face to greet the more than 600 registered guests who arrived at DESY last week for the big annual ILC get-together; blue skies and sunny warm weather succeeded the drizzle and grey of the pre-meetings. It was a workshop that sat on the cusp between two eras, that of the Reference Design and the Engineering Design. A similar phase change is also occurring in the detector community, as it comes to terms with how to coalesce to form two collaborations. This imminent change of pace gave the meeting a feeling of excitement and anticipation which has palpably displaced the sense of achievement, and exhaustion, evident at our last major meeting in Beijing.

Barry Barish was able to report on the final steps to complete the RDR document in his opening plenary speech but spent most of his time looking to the future and outlining the plans for the EDR phase. Undoubtedly the most important news was the appointment of Marc Ross (Fermilab) as the project manager, together with his two colleagues Nick Walker (DESY) and Akira Yamamoto (KEK) who will form the Project Management Team. Barry outlined the reasons why the EDR would require a different management paradigm from its predecessor and set the goal of the meeting as one of consultation and deliberation on the details, form and scope of the EDR.

The rest of the meeting did indeed concentrate on this issue, although the working groups that met in the parallel sessions also had much other work with which to busy themselves. Individuals from the EDR Working Group, chaired by Marc Ross, made themselves available to each of the area systems at dedicated sessions, and there was a “town meeting” discussion until late on Wednesday evening. The Executive Committee was also very busy in its by now traditional working lunches, ably marshalled by Maxine Hronek. Among other things, they met with the leaders of the Worldwide Study to agree on the next steps on their roadmap, including a proposal to appoint a Research Director.

A solemn welcome by one of the zoo's residents to the workshop dinner.

The meeting was not all business. The usual social events were greatly enjoyed, beginning with a welcoming reception in the DESY Canteen where the beer flowed until much beyond the advertised time, to the delight in particular of the UK contingent. The closing organ concert in one of the most famous of Hamburg's churches, the “Michel”, was also greatly praised. The highlight however was certainly the conference dinner, held in another famous Hamburg institution, Hagenbeck's Tierpark, or Zoo. The guests were greeted at the door by a selection of the zoo's residents, the food was excellent and the wine flowed liberally throughout the proceedings. These culminated in an after-dinner speech by the present writer, introduced by the GDE Director with the observation by Feynman that when one is asked to give after-dinner speeches one's career is over!

The GDE part of the meeting finished on Saturday with a final round of plenaries, rounded off with a summary by the Project Manager which highlighted the emerging consensus on the rough outlines of the EDR and its workpackages. Our colleagues in the Worldwide Study however industriously continued their meeting throughout Sunday. This allowed our DESY colleagues one day of rest before another extremely busy week. The German Minister of Education and Research Annette Schavan arrived on Tuesday with the European Commissioner for Research Janez Potocnik to inaugurate the X-ray Free Electron Laser project officially, a momentous step for DESY and Europe and a great opportunity for further synergies with the ILC. At the same time the biannual ECRI meeting on European Infrastructures was starting in a downtown hotel. At the end of the month, DESY's user community wipes a tear from its collective eye as it says goodbye to HERA in a spectacular “HERA Fest”. June is truly a red-letter month in the life of both DESY and the Free and Hanseatic City which offered such a fantastic welcome to the extended ILC family.

-- Brian Foster