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B-Factory Symposium Celebrates PEP-II and BaBar

An international audience gathered together at Monday's B-Factory Symposium at the Schwab Residential Center in Stanford's Vidalakis Hall to recognize the achievements of the PEP-II accelerator complex and the BaBar experiment. The symposium revisited the history of the facility from the early planning of PEP-II in the late 1980's through mention of the BaBar experiment in this year's Nobel Prize in physics.

Just after noon, the sunny patio buzzed with discussion while attendees took a lunch break. BaBar Collaboration members visited with colleagues from national and foreign institutions who returned to SLAC for the celebration. "It was very nice to get everybody back together again," said John Seeman, now assistant director of SLAC's Particle Physics and Astrophysics Division. "We had Berkeley colleagues and Livermore colleagues who I hadn't seen since we built [PEP-II] 10 years ago. It was refreshing to see all our old designs and see how they worked out, to look back at our inspirations along the way and the people we worked with." The year 2008 marks the final data collection using the BaBar detector and PEP-II.

Three-hundred people registered for the event, which complimented the BaBar Collaboration meeting and the International Committee on Future Accelerators seminar, "Future Perspectives in Particle Physics," both of which are taking place at SLAC this week. B-Factory Symposium attendees included BaBar collaboration members, PEP-II scientists and engineers, as well as representatives from Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, the U.S. Department of Energy and international funding agencies.

A presentation by DOE Associate Director of Science for High Energy Physics Dennis Kovar traced the history of BaBar and the roles of the DOE and other national agencies. "PEP-II and Babar have delivered on their investments. PEP-II pushed the limits of performance well beyond the original goals, enabling a much broader and richer physics program in the end. Babar made important discoveries and together with BELLE [at KEK in Japan] has laid the foundations of heavy flavor physics."

The day's talks looked back at BaBar and PEP-II from their earliest inception. "We wanted to get some history, because there are young people here and funding people here, and they should know that history," said BaBar founding member and SLAC Director Emeritus Jonathan Dorfan. "We also want to look forward and we want to discuss the lessons we learned."

—Calla Cofield
SLAC Today, October 29, 2008