April 5, 2022
Lia Merminga, an internationally renowned physicist and scientific leader, has been appointed to lead Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, effective April 18, 2022. Dr. Merminga will be the seventh Director of Fermilab.
Fermilab is the United States’ premier particle physics laboratory. Its mission is to shed new light on our understanding of the universe, from the smallest building blocks of matter to the deepest secrets of dark matter and dark energy. URA is proud to have been an integral part of Fermilab since its founding in 1967.
Dr. Merminga will lead the lab as it embarks on a transformational effort to become the world’s leading facility for the study of neutrinos. The laboratory’s current flagship project is the construction of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility and the associated Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (LBNF/DUNE). This project is bringing together more than 1,000 scientists in more than 30 countries to create the world’s most intense neutrino beam, which will be aimed at state-of-the-art underground detectors 800 miles away to better understand these elusive particles. Major parts of the project are being constructed at Fermilab in Batavia, IL, and at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, S.D.
Dr. Merminga currently serves as Director for the Proton Improvement Plan II (PIP-II) Project and Head of the PIP-II Division at Fermilab. PIP-II is an international collaboration that is constructing the neutrino beam that will enable DUNE’s groundbreaking experiments. Dr. Merminga previously served as the Associate Laboratory Director for the Accelerator Division at SLAC, led the Accelerator Division at TRIUMF (Canada’s particle accelerator center), and was the co-leader of the ARIEL project. Dr. Merminga will succeed Nigel Lockyer, who announced last September that he was stepping down as lab director this spring after an eight-year tenure.
Fermi Research Alliance, LLC (FRA), a partnership of Universities Research Association and the University of Chicago, which manages Fermilab on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, established a search committee composed of sixteen experts from around the world and five members of the Fermilab scientific community. The committee’s global search effort resulted in the unanimous recommendation to appoint Merminga and the approval of the URA Board of Trustees and the FRA Board of Directors.
Eric Barron, Chair of the Universities Research Association Board of Trustees, said, “Lia has been instrumental in developing strong scientific collaborations with research institutions across America and throughout the world in her past leadership positions, and we look forward to a continued partnership as she assumes the role of Laboratory Director.”
Dr. Merminga recently served as chair of the Fermilab Accelerator Advisory Committee, on the influential P5 panel, on numerous international advisory committees, and three U.S. National Academy committees. Dr. Merminga’s academic appointments include appointments at Stanford University, the University of Victoria, the University of British Columbia, and the College of William and Mary.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Athens in Greece and her master’s degrees in physics and mathematics and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is a Fermilab Distinguished Scientist, a fellow of the American Physical Society, and a graduate of the Department of Energy’s Oppenheimer Energy Science Leadership Program.