Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Gerald Blazey
Gerald Blazey


Blazey takes temporary assignment
with U.S. Department of Energy

August 13, 2007

by Tom Parisi

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is calling on the expertise of NIU Presidential Science Adviser Gerald Blazey.

Blazey, a Distinguished Research Professor of physics, recently accepted a one- to two-year Intergovernmental Personnel Assignment with the DOE Office of Science, where he is serving as manager of the International Linear Collider Program in the High Energy Physics program office.

“This is a great honor for Dr. Blazey to be selected for this assignment,” said Rathindra Bose, NIU vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School. “That the Department of Energy sought out his assistance also speaks to the high caliber of our faculty researchers at NIU.”

The Intergovernmental Personnel Act authorizes temporary assignments of skilled personnel between federal agencies and institutions of higher education.

The proposed International Linear Collider (ILC) represents the next generation of particle accelerators, which smash together tiny bits of invisible matter to produce new particles. The experiments help researchers identify and understand the most basic building blocks of nature and the structure of the microscopic universe. The more powerful and efficient the accelerator, the more deeply scientists can probe into the subatomic realm.

DOE has expressed an interest in the possibility of hosting the 20-mile-long facility at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia. The collider would allow physicists to explore energy regions beyond the reach of today’s most powerful circular accelerators, the Tevatron at Fermilab and the Large Hadron Collider, due to come online at the CERN laboratory on the French-Swiss border.

The ILC is currently in the research and development phase. Blazey will monitor and review a DOE program with a proposed budget of $60 million for FY 2008. He also will help develop the program’s future annual budgets.

Before accepting this position, Blazey served as co-director of the Northern Illinois Center for Accelerator and Detector Development (NICADD). He also served two terms as co-spokesperson for the DZero collaboration at Fermilab. DZero is among the world’s premier experiments in particle physics.

“DOE’s Office of High Energy Physics seeks out scientists for this exchange who are active in the field,” Blazey said. “I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to support the ILC, collaborate with personnel at the Department of Energy and learn more about how the federal system works.”