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From the Director: No Project is an Island

(Photo - Persis Drell)
(Photo by Linda Cicero.)

What do the successful Facility for Advanced aCcelerator Experimental Tests (FACET) CD2/3 review, project completion of Linac Coherent Light Source on time and under budget, CD-0 for LCLS-II, good progress on the Research Support Building project, and CD-0 for the new Science and User Support Building (SUSB) have in common? The success of each has contributed to the success of the others. It is a great illustration of what it means to be "One Lab."

When I worked on GLAST (now the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope), I had a vague realization that if the project wasnít successful, it would not just be bad for Particle Physics and Astrophysics. It would be bad for SLAC. Now I understand it explicitly. If one project fails, it is a failure for the entire lab. It will impact every other project we are doing. And it will damage every future project we might want to do. And so none of us can afford to let any project fail. And we donít and we wonít. It is why Craig Ferguson jumped into lead the CT-101 cooling project, and why Nan Phinney jumped in to lead FACET. It is why Mark Reichanadter runs the Project Management Oversight Group and Liz Dahlen leads the Project Management Office statusing all the projects at the lab on a monthly basis. They all understand that even a bad stumble in those projects could put the entire lab at risk and would certainly make it harder for us to get new projects in the future.

But there is a positive side to this as well. When all the projects at a laboratory are going well, then it is good for everyone, and it will enhance the chance that we will be successful in other areas. Good progress in LCLS Ultrafast Science Instruments (LUSI) helps FACET. Success in FACET helps LCLS-II. Success in LCLS helps everyone. We saw a wonderful and very direct example of that this week as we got CD-0 for the new SUSB that will be built where Panofsky Auditorium and the cafeteria now stand. It is the successes that you all have delivered over the past two years, including doing outstanding science at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and with FGST, improving operations and lowering accident rates, that have contributed to this win for the lab.

And in my view, this is a great illustration of the power of "One Lab." We are all invested in one anotherís success and we all benefit from one anotherís success. With apologies to John Donne:

   No project is an island,
   Entire of itself.
   Each is a piece of the whole laboratory,
   A part of the main.

Perhaps it is sobering to understand how deeply we are all intertwined in each otherís fates, how much we depend on each other for our own success. But it is also a wonderful realization because it means you are not alone as you try to deliver the LUSI experiments or complete BaBar D&D or pass the CD2/3 review for the Research Support Building project. The whole lab is pulling for your success, and we all stand ready to help. And as I approach the third anniversary of when I stepped in as Acting Director and first started talking about "One Lab," I now know that this really is a very important part of what One Lab means.

óPersis Drell
SLAC Today, September 3, 2010