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High Energy Physics Community visit Capitol Hill

Mar 24, 2023 | Featured News, High Energy Physics, Science Policy

WASHINGTON — High Energy Physics (HEP) Community meets with members of Congress, staff, and agency officials March 20-23 with URA support to champion their research and advancement of the field.

“It was truly an honor to have the opportunity to meet with our elected representatives and advocate for the significance of science and research funding,” said Biswaranjan Behera, an adjunct assistant scientist at the University of Florida and member of Fermilab’s Users Executive Committee (UEC).

Biswaranjan Behera (front-right) and Fermilab Users Executive Committee gather behind U.S. Capitol after two days of meeting with members of Congress and staff. March 22, 2023. Photo: Mackenzie Williams / URA

Forty physicists from across the U.S. including graduate students, university faculty, and national laboratory scientists attended this year’s trip representing UEC as well as the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) Users Organization and U.S. Large Hadron Collider Users Association (US LUA).

“Over three days, we were able to have over 250 meetings with staffers, and even a few members of Congress themselves,” said Adam Lyon, division director for Data Science, Simulation, and Learning Division at Fermilab and UEC member. “[Congressional] offices tell us that our advocacy for HEP is the ‘gold standard’ for science, and this reflects on the enormous effort of those from the field who volunteer for the advocacy trip and on the enthusiastic and high level of support from URA.”

HEP community kicks off visit at URA headquarters. March 21, 2023. Photo: Mackenzie Williams / URA

HEP physicists and laboratory users review main objectives prior to heading to the Hill. March 21, 2023. Photo: Mackenzie Williams / URA

The visit allowed scientists to communicate the importance of ongoing research at national laboratories. Physicists focused discussions on their appreciation for government support of high-energy physics research and the need for continued support to meet current and future goals in the field.

“What I hope members of Congress take away from this visit is how widespread and diverse the HEP community [is],” said Ishanee Pophale, a doctoral candidate at Lancaster University and officer for Fermilab Postdoc Association (FPA).

Ishanee Pophale (center) with fellow high energy physicists. March 22, 2023. Photo: Mackenzie Williams / Fermilab