All change at the top for US particle physics
Nov 26, 1998
Burton Richter has announced that he plans to step down as director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California next August. Richter, who has been director of SLAC since 1984, shared the 1976 Nobel Prize for Physics with Sam Ting for the discovery of the J/psi particle at Stanford. Richter's announcement means that the US's two premier particle physics laboratories - SLAC and FermiLab near Chicago - are both looking for new directors. FermiLab director John Peoples plans to step down next July. The Universities Research Association, the body which runs FermiLab, is currently considering the recommendations of a search committee set up to find the next director of the lab.
Richter, 67, will remain on the faculty at Stanford University and will be the next president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. Richter's main achievements at SLAC have been the construction of the two-mile Stanford Linear Collider (SLC), the world's first linear collider, and the Stanford B-factory. Work on the SLC began in 1983 and physics experiments started in 1989. Experiments on the B-factory, another electron-positron collider, will start next year. Richter will also leave SLAC with strong programmes on synchrotron radiation and accelerator-based X-ray sources, and R&D for the next linear collider.