Lia Merminga has been named director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the nation’s premier particle physics and accelerator laboratory, effective April 18. Merminga will be the lab’s seventh director and the first woman to hold the position at Fermilab. | Photo: Allan Johnson, Fermilab Portrait

BATAVIA, Ill. — A physicist who is the newly appointed director of the U.S. Energy Department’s Fermilab facility will become the Chicago-area research center's first woman director.

Lia Merminga will assume Fermilab's leadership role on April 18, University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos announced Tuesday.[1] He chairs the board of directors of Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, which operates the laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Merminga will succeed Nigel Lockyer, who announced in September that he would step down as Fermilab director after an eight-year tenure at the 6,800-acre (2,752-hectare) facility that's headquartered about 35 miles (56 kilometers) west of downtown Chicago in Batavia.

The lab is home to scientists who study particle physics and conduct accelerator research with a mission to shed new light on human's understanding of the universe, including the smallest building blocks of matter.

Merminga currently serves as the director for the Fermilab's Proton Improvement Plan II, or PIP-II. She said her goal as director will be to successfully see the U.S. lead the way in global particle physics research.

“I love the institution and am excited for the opportunity to give back to the lab," she said in a news release.

Merminga earned her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Athens Greece. She has a master’s in physics and mathematics and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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Notes & References

  1. “Lia Merminga Appointed Director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.” University of Chicago News. Accessed April 6, 2022. ↩︎