New SLAC Head Named

An insider will take the helm of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Stanford University announced yesterday that SLAC administrator Jonathan Dorfan will succeed Nobel laureate Burton Richter, who announced last month that he would step down in August 1999 after 15 years on the job (ScienceNow, 24 November).

Dorfan, 51, is currently associate director of SLAC, a $177 million-a-year science center in Menlo Park, California, that has produced three Nobel Prize winners. Since 1994, he has led the effort to build and operate SLAC's new B factory, designed to ferret out why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. Now, a "thrilled" Dorfan says his "priority will be to expand [SLAC's] scientific horizons." Observers expect Dorfan to make an aggressive bid to host the planned Next Linear Collider, a giant 30- to 50-kilometer-long accelerator that labs all over the world are competing to build.

Outgoing director Richter, who had lobbied for Dorfan's appointment, praised his successor. "Doing this job requires good taste in science, managerial and people skills, optimism, and a sense of humor," he says. "Jonathan has all of these aplenty."

Dorfan's promotion at SLAC, however, leaves the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois without one of its leading candidates for director. But Fred Bernthal of the Universities Research Association, which operates Fermilab, was upbeat: "We need good people everywhere in physics," he said. "He'll do a great job for them."

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