Session J5: US Particle Accelerator School Session

(co-sponsored by the Division of Physics of Beams (DPB) and the Forum on Education)

Ernest Malamud, University of Nevada, Reno

This session, jointly sponsored with DPB and chaired by Linda Spentzouris (Illinois Institute of Technology) reviewed the role and experiences with the US Particle Accelerator School.

Overview of USPAS and its role in educating the next generation of accelerator scientists and engineers

William Barletta, Director of the USPAS, MIT, Fermilab

William Barletta began the session with a nice overview of the functioning of the USPAS. Accelerators are essential engines of discovery in fundamental physics, biology, and chemistry. Particle beam based instruments in medicine, industry and national security constitute a multi-billion dollar per year industry. Yet only a handful of universities offer any formal training in accelerator science. The reasons are several and detailed in Barletta’s talk. The USPAS fills this gap. It is a highly successful educational paradigm that, over the past twenty-years, has granted more university credit in accelerator / beam science and technology than any university in the world. Barletta then outlined the way the USPAS functions. Students come from all corners of the world, from universities, laboratories, private companies, government and the military. Some students have been in the field for many years and are interested in a "refresher" course, while others are full-time students looking for additional classes to add to their education. Qualified teachers are chosen from national laboratories, universities and private industry.

USPAS from a student's perspective: learning about accelerator physics.

Evgenya Smirnova, Los Alamos

Barletta’s talk was followed by Evgenya Smirnova (Los Alamos) who gave the audience the perspective of the student. Overall, graduate education in the US is widely considered to be of the highest quality with the students from around the world entering our Universities. Smirnova discussed the difference between the US and European (in particularly, Russian) graduate programs and pointed out how the USPAS became an essential part of her graduate education in accelerator physics and compensated for the lack of coursework at MIT. Dr. Smirnova, in her talk, pointed out places where she felt the school could be improved.

The USPAS from the perspective of the instructor

Michael Syphers, Fermilab

The final talk in the session was presented by Michael Syphers (Fermilab) who has taught in several schools and presented his perspective as an instructor. He examined the evolution of the U.S. Particle Accelerator School from the perspective of one instructor teaching graduate students, undergraduate students, accelerator professionals and other "interested parties," throughout the history of the school's university credit program.