Friday, October 14, 2005

Dr. Lederman, Redux

Yesterday we spoke again with Dr. Lederman, former head of Fermilab and Nobel Laureate. This time he agreed to let us come to his house, although in our initial email contacts he didn't seem keen on letting us in. We agreed to speak with him outside.

His house is over 100 years old, and is a beautiful white farmhouse on the Fermilab grounds, not too far from the D0 detector. The address? 137 Eola. Yes, he deliberately chose that number (somewhere in this blog I think I have described the significance of the number 137, but exactly where eludes me at the moment). We sat out on his porch in the waning hours of the beautiful fall evening, and luckily I had brought some lights because by the time the interview was over it was nearly dark outside. Ladybugs were drifting into the lights from time to time and sizzling --- occasionally a little puff of smoke indicated one of them had met nirvana.

We were speaking with Dr. Lederman again to get his ideas about what had transpired since we last spoke if February. I remember it clearly --- it was February 7, my birthday, and the day the budget cut went down, ending the life of the bTev experiment and putting a definite cap on the life of the Tevatron. As well, over the summer, the Tevatron had hit record luminosity (meaning it did a record number of collisions), so we wanted to get his feedback on everything that had transpired. As always, he was well-spoken, compelling, and interesting, although he did seem a little more tired. And, disappointingly, he had absolutely no memory that we had ever spoken! I chalk that up to the fact that he must be interviewed all the time, because the thought that we were so absolutely un-memorable is not a particularly pleasant one.