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Dr. Roger Dixon


Distinguished Alumnus 2013

  • BS 1970, New Mexico Highlands University, Physics and Mathematics
  • MS 1972, Purdue University, Physics
  • PhD 1975, Purdue University, Physics

I spent my early years in a logging camp in New Mexico and a ski area in Colorado trying to figure out how to make that part of my life last forever. I incorrectly concluded that I had failed, so I went off to college.

I obtained my Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1975 after completing a Bachelors Degree in Physics and Mathematics at New Mexico Highlands University in 1970. After a short stint as a postdoc at Cornell, I joined the Fermilab staff in 1977 where I have spent most of my career trying not to be in charge of anything, a tactic that is very effective for achieving the contrary result.

Initially I became the Head of the Fermilab Switchyard Group in the Accelerator Division. Subsequently I served as Deputy Head of the Tevatron II Project, which built the extraction system and the beam lines for the Tevatron Fixed-target program, and in 1983 became head for the Experimental Areas Department in the Research Division. Later I accidentlally became the head of the Research Division, but only after I had spent a few years as Head of the Dzero Department and co-project manager during detector construction. I finally thought I had learned my lesson and was happily working on my favorite research project, the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS), when someone at one of the funding agencies noticed that the effort needed a project manager. I tried unsuccessfully to hide under my chair. I gave in only to be tagged again before the project was even done. For the past 10 years I have been the head of the Fermilab Accelerator Division, my original home at the Laboratory. I helped build the Tevatron in my first few years at Fermilab, and recently I had a primary role in operating it during its most productive years and finally putting it to sleep– forever. In addition I participated in a few other experiments along the way.

My most important role at Fermilab has been in the area of outreach and education. I inherited the Saturday Morning Physics program and one of the summer internship programs from Leon Lederman and Drasko Jovanovic. I began participating in these programs about 25 years ago and have been organizing them for the past 14 or 15 years. In addition I have been a Siemens Science and Technology Judge for all 13 years of that competition.

I have now concluded that everything lasts forever– no problem!

Career Highlights

  • 1986 Head of Program Planning, Fermilab
  • 1987 Co-project manager for Dzero detector at Fermilab
  • 1992 Head of Research Division, Fermilab
  • 1998 Named Cryogenic Dark Matter Search Project Manager
  • 2003 Named Head of Fermilab Accelerator Division
Last Updated: Apr 7, 2020 4:01 PM

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