Nigel Lockyer, director of Canada's TRIUMF laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, has been tapped to lead Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, officials announced Thursday.
Lockyer, 60, also a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of British Columbia, succeeds Pier Oddone, who announced his retirement after serving as director for eight years.
Lockyer, born in Scotland and raised in Canada, said he's both “flattered and sobered” to lead the agency into the future.
“There is a tremendous team at Fermilab and we are at a pivotal moment in the progress of particle physics,” Lockyer said in a statement. “We will make a tremendous impact.”
The University of Chicago and Universities Research Association, Inc., which operates Fermilab for the U.S. Department of Energy, approved Lockyer's appointment.
Lockyer's pick was the final step in a nine-month international search that involved a 15-member committee. Robert Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago and of the board of directors of Fermi Research Alliance, expressed full confidence in Lockyer's abilities.
“His scientific rigor and accomplishments and his ability to manage large teams make him our choice to lead Fermilab into a new era of scientific research and discovery,” Zimmer said in a statement.
As Fermilab's director, Lockyer will monitor upgraded particle accelerators and experiments to study the nature of matter, energy, space and time, according to a news release.
Lockyer has directed TRIUMF since May 2007 and during his tenure, TRIUMF's operations expanded by 25 percent, which helped him earn a reputation as a national leader and team builder, according to a news release. He also developed partnerships with major science labs in Canada, as well as research agreements with Japan, India, China and Korea.
Once Oddone retires, Fermilab Chief Operating Officer Jack Anderson will serve as interim director starting July 1 until Lockyer's tenure begins Sept. 3.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.