Fermilab celebrates new fundingBy Steve Koppes
A celebratory mood pervaded the Ramsey Auditorium at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory on Wednesday, July 2. The giant banner hanging above the stage set the tone: “Fermilab is back! Accelerating Science for America.”
The 2008 federal budget had left Fermilab employees toiling under rolling furloughs that had reduced their pay by 10 percent since February. Layoffs still loomed. That all ended when President Bush signed a supplementary funding bill on Monday, June 30, which led to the jubilant employee meeting two days later at Fermilab.
The supplementary funding provided $62.5 million to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the parent agency of Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory. The University plays a major role in managing both labs under contract with the DOE through Fermi Research Alliance, LLC and UChicago Argonne, LLC.
At the Wednesday, July 2 meeting, Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy Jeffrey Kupfer announced that DOE had allocated $37 million of the supplementary funding to Fermilab and Argonne. Taking center stage with Kupfer were U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, Congresswoman Judy Biggert and Congressman Bill Foster, a former Fermilab physicist.
“Our government support for scientific research has helped to split the atom, defeat polio, conquer space, create the Internet, map the human genome and so much more,” Durbin said. “We need to sustain our nation’s commitment to scientific progress.”
Fermilab Director Pier Oddone lauded the assembled employees for managing to set efficiency records in accelerator operations, despite the hardships. “You have performed magnificently,” Oddone said.