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July 6, 2007

SLAC names new director and deputy director of particle and particle astrophysics

Steven Kahn, deputy director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University, has been named director of particle and particle astrophysics at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). David MacFarlane, assistant director for elementary particle physics at SLAC, will become the new deputy director of particle and particle astrophysics.

"This is clearly a very pressing time for the field and for SLAC, with exciting questions to be answered and real strategy to be developed," said Kahn, the Cassius Lamb Kirk Professor in the Natural Sciences at Stanford and a professor at SLAC. "I look forward to working on these challenges with David, while also strengthening the growing overlap with the laboratory's photon science program in areas including accelerator science, detector R&D and computing."

Established in 1962, SLAC is operated by Stanford for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The center houses state-of-the-art electron accelerators and related experimental facilities for use in high-energy physics and synchrotron radiation research.

"SLAC is privileged to be able to appoint two such superb scientists as director and deputy director of the SLAC particle and particle astrophysics directorate," said Robin Staffin, associate director for high energy physics in the DOE's Office of Science. "Both have outstanding reputations in their specialties—Steve Kahn in particle astrophysics and David MacFarlane in particle physics—but in addition, they both have a good knowledge and experience of working in the area where these two fields overlap."

Kahn's appointment begins Aug. 1, when he replaces SLAC Deputy Director Persis Drell, who has served as director of particle and particle astrophysics since 2002. Drell will stay on as SLAC deputy director through the end of 2007.

"Particle and particle astrophysics at SLAC has strong foundations, thanks to the exceptional leadership of Persis Drell," said SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan. "Steve Kahn and David MacFarlane step up at the time when the science questions have never been more compelling. Together they comprise an ideal team to lead the laboratory and its user community in these exciting times."

As director of particle and particle astrophysics, Kahn will oversee the following research efforts:

  • SLAC's B-Factory Program, which includes the PEP-II accelerator and the associated detector, BaBar;
  • DOE-sponsored work performed at the Kavli Institute;
  • SLAC-based teams working on the Large Hadron Collider experiment, ATLAS, and the International Linear Collider;
  • advanced accelerator research and non-accelerator particle physics programs at SLAC.
  • In addition to serving as director, Kahn will retain his joint faculty appointment at SLAC and at the Stanford Department of Physics, which he has held since he arrived at the university four years ago. Kahn previously served as chair of the Physics Department at Columbia University, where he oversaw astrophysics and particle physics research. He also has served on the Fermilab Physics Advisory Committee for the past four years and was a member of the committee that wrote the DOE High Energy Physics Advisory Panel's Quantum Universe report.

    Although Kahn will step down from his current role at the Kavli Institute, he will continue serving as deputy director of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope project, an international effort to build a large space observatory in Chile.

    MacFarlane served as spokesperson for the BaBar collaboration at SLAC between 2004 and 2006. He joined the SLAC faculty in 2005 from the University of California-San Diego.

    "I look forward to working with Steve to help realize the full spectrum of exciting science opportunities before us," MacFarlane said. "SLAC has a uniquely talented scientific and technical staff, who have been the key to past discoveries in accelerator science and particle physics and who will continue to be the foundation for the future program."



    Neil Calder, Director of Communications, SLAC: (650) 926-8707,

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