Accelerator Science Fellowships Benefit Ph.D.s and LHC


January 11, 2012

John Cesaratto and Valentina Previtali are the 2011 recipients of the Toohig Fellowships. The fellowships, recently announced by the LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP), provide postdoctoral research positions in accelerator science for recent Ph.D.s in physics or engineering.

LARP is a collaborative initiative between the Department of Energy Office of Science's Division of High Energy Physics and four DOE Office of Science laboratories, including SLAC. Its mission is to study and improve the operation of CERN's Large Hadron Collider; the fellowships fund two to three years of studies, with fellows spending about half their tenure at CERN and the remainder at one of the DOE labs involved in the LARP collaboration.

Toohig Fellow John Cesaratto has already started his work at SLAC. Cesaratto is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he focused on accelerator physics and nuclear astrophysics.

According to Cesaratto, his work in nuclear astrophysics led directly to his interest in accelerator physics. "It was necessary for me to build a low-energy, high-intensity accelerator to make an astrophysically significant measurement," Cesaratto said. "I became very interested in the production and transport of beams, and the Toohig Fellowship provides me with an opportunity to further my understanding of accelerators by working on the world's largest collider."

Toohig Fellow Valentina Previtali selected Fermilab as her U.S. host and is at work on collimation projects. She earned her Ph.D. at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland in 2010 working on crystal collimation studies for the LHC, and, she says, she's determined to continue to contribute to improving LHC performance.

"LARP is providing a unique opportunity to do so," Previtali said. "Thanks to LARP, I can continue my collimation studies" by investigating the implementation of a hollow electron lens, a technology designed and tested at Fermilab in which the quality of a proton beam is improved by enclosing it within a hollow electron beam.

Cesaratto and Previtali join 2010 Toohig fellow Simon White, who is hosted by Brookhaven National Laboratory and CERN.

The Toohig fellowships are in honor of the late Dr. Timothy Toohig (pronounced "TOO-HIGG"), a physicist and Jesuit priest, who devoted his life to promoting accelerator science and increasing understanding, communication and collaboration among scientists of all nations and religions. Information about the LARP program and the Toohig fellowships is at

Applications for the 2012 Toohig Fellowships are currently being accepted. A recent Ph.D. or equivalent in physics or engineering is required. To apply, forward a CV and the names and addresses of three references to Dr. John Fox [mailto: jdfox@SLAC.Stanford.EDU], Chair, Toohig Fellowship Committee. The deadline for 2012 consideration is Feb. 15. The committee invites applicants from diverse backgrounds, and encourages Ph.D. scientists/engineers with interests in Accelerator Science, Accelerator Instrumentation, Superconducting Materials and Superconducting Magnet Technology to apply.