Toohig Fellowships

The U.S. LHC Accelerator Research Program is pleased to announce the Toohig Fellowships for recent PhDs in science, technology and engineering interested in pursuing studies in accelerator science.

Dr. Timothy Toohig, SJ, was a physicist and Jesuit priest who devoted his life to promoting accelerator science and increasing understanding among scientists of all nations and religions.

Fellowship recipients will participate with U.S. scientists in the design, construction, commissioning, operation and other activities needed to upgrade the LHC for operations in the High Luminosity era.

About the Fellowship

The LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP) is pleased to announce postdoctoral research positions in accelerator science for recent PhDs in physics or engineering. These positions are specifically for activities related to the US contributions to the High Luminosity LHC project (HL-LHC) at CERN. Fellows will be hosted by one the U.S. DOE laboratories involved in the LARP collaboration: Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The choice of resident laboratory for each Fellow will be negotiated, and will depend on each individual's chosen and approved research interest. During the course of the fellowship, there will be opportunities for visits to other collaborating institutions and CERN as part of the project activities.

LARP's original mission has been the study and improvement of the operation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) by participating in research and activities relevant to the collider operation and its upgrades. At present, LARP is focusing on preparing for the US in-kind contributions to the High Luminosity LHC, and in the delivery and commissioning of these contributions. This involves the prototyping and performance demonstrations of major hardware components critical to achieving the HL-LHC performance goals, in particular superconducting magnets and crab cavities required for the new interaction regions. Beam physics calculations and advanced instrumentation are also part of the above mentioned activities. LARP scientists, engineers and postdocs, including Toohig Fellows, will participate in the equipment construction and eventual installation at the HL-LHC.

The Toohig Fellowships are in honor of the late Dr. Timothy Toohig, a physicist and Jesuit priest, who devoted his life to promoting accelerator science and increasing understanding, communication and collaboration among scientists of all nations. The Fellowship has a strong track record in launching the career of many outstanding young scientists, who went on to become leaders in the field of accelerator science and technology. The current members of the Toohig committee are Giorgio Ambrosio (FNAL), Giorgio Apollinari (FNAL), John Fox (SLAC), Thomas Markiewicz (SLAC), Alessandro Ratti (SLAC), GianLuca Sabbi (LBNL), and Peter Wanderer (BNL).

Fellowships are awarded on a yearly basis. Applications are received until the end of February. Selected candidates are invited to participate to the LARP collaboration meeting, which usually takes place in April. At this meeting, they will be given an opportunity to present their previous work, and to discuss research interests and plans with members of the collaboration. The final selection takes place in May-June time frame, followed by the formal hiring process. Start dates are usually toward the end of the year, or in the first part of the following year.

A recent Ph.D. or equivalent in physics or engineering is required. Candidates who have completed their research project and are expected to have received their degree by the time the final selection takes place are welcome to apply. The term of the Fellowship is two years extendable to three with mutual interest.

Please forward a CV and the names and addresses of three references to:
GianLuca Sabbi, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

About Tim Toohig

Timothy Toohig was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1928. He received his doctorate in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1962 and was ordained into the priesthood in 1965 at Boston College. He worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory from 1965 to 1970, was a staff member at Fermilab starting in 1970, joining the SSC laboratory in 1988. When he died suddenly in September 2001 he was the Department of Energy Program Manager for the U.S. contributions to the Large Hadron Collider project at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Physicist Tim Toohig/Father Timothy Toohig, S.J. played leading roles in establishing the scientific and humanitarian standards at all his places of work. He made indispensable contributions to the design and construction of the Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab, then brought his scientific and leadership skills and immense enthusiasm to the Superconducting Super Collider project. Throughout a career spanning four decades, his spiritual guidance was as valued as much as his scientific knowledge. In May 2000 Toohig presided at memorial services at Fermilab for founding Director Robert R. Wilson, who had once described Toohig as "spiritual counselor for the project" of building the laboratory.

As much in science as in faith, Tim dedicated his life to opening lines of communication between people of different countries and religions. At the height of the Cold War, he participated in accelerator experiments in the Soviet Union. He strongly encouraged U.S. participation in the LHC, and in his last assignment at the U.S. Department of Energy he conceived the idea that the U.S. accelerator community should form an ongoing collaboration on the LHC accelerator, even after the completion of the construction project. This concept is at the core of the LARP collaboration.

"Father Tim" to his extended family throughout the high-energy physics community, Toohig saw no conflict between his pursuit of scientific and spiritual knowledge. While serving at the Department of Energy, he also held a research position at Boston College. He was, in fact, representative of the Jesuit outlook since the order's founding in 1540 by Ignatius Loyola, who considered the acquisition of knowledge a spiritual task. Some of Toohig's scientific papers are featured in an exhibit, "Jesuits and the Sciences," compiled by the Science Library of Loyola University of Chicago, and available at

In his March, 2000 presentation at Fermilab ("Physics Research: Searching for God") at the Symposium on the Nature of Science, Toohig noted these parallels: "Both religion and science contain a powerful sense that there is more there than we currently understand. In science, this is what leads us, for example, to build new accelerators, as a way to reach beyond what we know, toward discoveries that we believe lie beyond."

During his discussion, he reached back to the early 1960s, when he was a graduate student at Johns Hopkins. He was in a group working on the Berkeley Bevatron experiment that discovered the eta meson, a critical step on the path toward establishing the existence of quarks. Toohig and his fellow grad students ran their data during the night shift at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, watching those old line printers crank out the results of their calculations. With each result they knew they were seeing something new.

"It was a fantastic feeling, better than winning a football game," he recalled. "I couldn't help relating it to experiences in prayer, to the very special moments I'm sure we all have had in our lives, times of real trouble or very special moments when there's this tremendous sense of interior joy and excitement. It could only be described as a deep spiritual experience. With time, I've learned that such experiences are really what physics research is all about, and that's why we do it. The reward is that joy."