Willkommen, New BaBar Leadership!
The BaBar Collaboration held its autumn collaboration meeting in Berlin, Germany last week. On Tuesday, the meeting's Collaboration Council ratified the fourth member of the new BaBar management team. With the fourth member in place, SLAC and the international BaBar Collaboration can now officially welcome the new team.
"The main focus of this management team is to make sure the collaboration is well positioned to get physics publications out," said BaBar's new spokesperson, Michael Roney. "The challenge is to have BaBar function effectively and with high efficiency, even though data taking stopped in 2008. This will ensure people can finish the work that we have started."
Roney takes on leadership of the new BaBar management group as Spokesperson Emeritus Francois Le Diberder steps down from his two years of service. Roney is a professor at the University of Victoria in Canada, and served as chairman of the Physics and Astronomy Department there until 2008, when he took over as BaBar's deputy physics analysis coordinator. For the past year he has served as BaBar's physics analysis coordinator, prior to taking on the mantle of spokesperson.
While the BaBar experiment stopped taking data in 2008, its 400-plus members continue to produce important analyses and expect to continue a high rate of publication over the next two to four years. Simultaneously, the collaboration is now embarking on a project to archive the BaBar data in a manner that makes it easily accessible in the future. The "Long Term Data Access Project" will include software and written instructions for accessing BaBar data. The collaboration must prepare for the data environment to be stable against changes to the operating system and changes to other critical, non-BaBar software, as well as remove the need for assistance from full-time staff members.
Playing a major role in preparing for this project will be Tina Cartaro, who will take over as computing coordinator, as Computing Coordinator Emeritus Homer Neil steps down. Now a permanent SLAC employee, Cartaro earned her PhD at the University of Naples in Italy. She spent five years at the University of Trieste, where she first became involved with BaBar Computing, and traveled frequently to SLAC.
"There's still so much to be done with this data, and that's why we are giving time to the Long Term Data Access Project," Cartaro said. "It's a big responsibility. And it's an honor, of course, to be chosen for such a responsibility."
Abi Soffer will step up as deputy physics analysis coordinator. He said he shares Cartaro's feelings of honor at his appointment, and that getting the call from Roney was "a bit of an out-of-body experience."
Soffer worked on BaBar as a postdoc at Colorado State University, and then as an associate professor at Tel Aviv University beginning in 2006. In 2009 Soffer helped to bring Tel Aviv into the BaBar collaboration.
Assuming the role of physics analysis coordinator will be Steve Robertson, who completed his postdoctoral work on BaBar as a SLAC research associate a decade ago. Robertson is an IPP (Institute of Particle Physics) Researcher, with a joint appointment as an associate professor at McGill University in Quebec, Canada.
"I'm really impressed with just the sheer scale of the BaBar physics program," said Robertson. "We stopped taking data a little over two years ago and yet the physics productivity is enormous. My goal for the year is to try to keep that momentum going and see if we can maintain this productivity through the year."
Robertson is currently compiling a list of remaining "interesting physics analyses" that BaBar has left to do, and making sure those analyses get done. Even while the collaboration begins to prepare for long term access to its data, this week's collaboration meeting will focus mainly on current and upcoming analyses. Robertson is also faced with the task of maintaining BaBar's high standard of internal peer review of papers before they are submitted for publication. At the collaboration meeting he and an appointed task force discussed a strategy to maintain this standard in the face of reduced member numbers.
With so many collaboration members spread out across the world, the management team said working face-to-face at the collaboration meetings is essential to BaBar's scientific progress. "These meetings," Cartaro said, "remind us who we are, what we do, what we want to do."