The Swiss State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation visited Fermilab | So Good News


The Honorable Martina Hirayama, Swiss Secretary of State for Education, Research and Innovation, visited the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory on October 20 to further strengthen cooperation between Switzerland and the United States in the field of neutrino physics and international depth. An underground neutrino experiment.

The Honorable Martina Hirayama tours Fermilab’s new IERC building with Director Leah Merminga on October 20. Photo: Ryan Postel, Fermilab

Fermilab Director Leah Merminga and Associate Director Bonnie Fleming led a delegation that welcomed the Swiss Secretary of State on a tour of Fermilab’s new Integrated Engineering Research Center to discuss the lab’s neutrino program. Next to the IERC, DUNE hosts the detector modules developed by the University of Bern for the ND-LAr detector. The ND-LAr is the most important component of the proximity detector and directly provides the physical sensitivity of DUNE.

Switzerland has been a leader in the development of liquid argon detector technology at the University of Bern and the public research university ETH Zurich for more than a decade. This technology is being adopted by the international community for neutrino research.

In the building of the Fermilab industrial center, the delegation visited the department of applied physics and superconductivity technology of the laboratory. Photo: Ryan Postel, Fermilab

“Our Swiss colleagues, including CERN, play an important role in developing the unique design of liquid argon technologies for DUNE,” said Merminga. “Their contributions are a critical component of the success of this ambitious enterprise.”

Switzerland and CERN were heavily involved in the production of liquid-argon detector prototypes leading to the final design of DUNE’s near and far detectors.

The Honorable Martina Hirayama, Swiss Secretary of State, Fermilab Senior Engineer, Infrastructure Services, tours the new IERC with Project Manager Brian Rubik. Photo: Ryan Postel, Fermilab

In addition, the MicroBooNE and SBND experiments, which are part of the Short-Baseline Neutrino Program at Fermilab, were developed with significant contributions from the University of Bern. This, in turn, led to Switzerland’s leading role in the design of the ND-LAr proximity detector for the DUNE experiment.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and works to address the most pressing issues of our time. For more information, visit


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