David MacFarlane

Stanford University, SLAC

Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics

David MacFarlane’s background as a researcher is in the field of experimental particle physics began with a Ph.D. from Caltech in 1984. Subsequently he has been involved as a collaborator in a succession of particle physics experiments (CCFR at Fermilab, ARGUS at DESY, CLEO-II at Cornell, BABAR at SLAC and SCDMS at SNOLAB), including participation in one of the major discoveries in the field (mixing in the neutral B meson system) in the late 1980s, and then rising to some prominence in the international community as the spokesperson of a 600-person international scientific collaboration (BABAR) pursuing one of the mysteries of modern-day cosmology, namely the large asymmetry between the matter and antimatter content of the present-day universe. Over the course of his active research career, David held positions as a faculty member in the Physics Departments at McGill University (1987-1997) and the University of California at San Diego (1997-2005) before joining the faculty at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University in 2005.

Over the past decade, David has held several leadership and management positions at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, one of seventeen U.S. Department of Energy laboratories and a major government-funded research organization. During this period, he managed as Associate Laboratory Director (2009-2015) a US$70M/year portfolio of research, facility construction, and operation, and a team of roughly 200 staff scientists in the pursuit of forefront particle physics and astrophysics. More recently, he assumed the position of Chief Research Officer at SLAC (2015-2017), a member of the Director’s staff charged with developing processes and long-range strategic planning for the laboratory. While SLAC was a single purpose high energy physics laboratory for its first 50 years, the laboratory has evolved into a multi-program institution over the last decade, with a broad portfolio of science, ranging from ultrafast chemistry and material science to biosciences and structural biology, enabled by its world-leading X-ray facilities. This evolution presents a significant challenge to strategic planning and innovation. David played an important part in the transformation of SLAC as a major research institution and now a multi-program laboratory.

Given this background, David has served on many advisory bodies in the field, including seven years as the Chair of the NRC Advisory Committee on TRIUMF (2010-2017), a period as Chair of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Committee (2016-2018), the primary advisory body to the Director of Fermilab on its ambitious $1.6B proposal to build a world-leading underground research facility for neutrinos in the Homestake Mine in South Dakota (SURF), and more recently as Chair of the Science Program Advisory Committee for the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). He also served as the Chair of the Executive Board (2012-2019) of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Corporation (now LSST Discovery Alliance), a not-for-profit corporation formed to raise funding for the development of LSST as a US$700M NSF and DOE project and to prepare the science community to exploit its multi-hundred Petabyte survey data set.

Contact David MacFarlane