Jeff Nelson
High-Voltage Consortium
William & Mary, United States

For me the highlight of my time as a physicist was managing the installation of the MINOS detector up in the Soudan mine in Minnesota. That was the most intense part of my career but in many ways the most rewarding. We were the people taking all of the parts from everyone around the world and getting them down there, putting it together, doing the labor, making sure everything worked right. It was a lot of work trying to figure out how not to waste time. The logistics are complicated when you’re 2,341 feet underground. The camaraderie of the people, the feeling that we were making progress, it all went well. I lived this weird lifestyle for three years where I was working in Illinois for Fermilab but the site was up north in Soudan and my wife stayed in Minneapolis and I did this three-point commute. It was intense. For DUNE I’m helping figure out a way to build a system that creates a 180,000-volt electric field in a large volume, in a way that it can be brought down a mine shaft. We’re at the time where there’s still room for good ideas, you get to play with toys and do things on a rapid time cycle. That’s a lot of fun.