Fermilab users consider opportunity, challenges
Joseph Dehmer, director of the division of physics of National Science Foundation, addresses attendees of the Users' Meeting.
The final day of the Users' Meeting set a course to discovery with an eye to the energy, intensity and cosmic frontiers of particle physics at Fermilab.
But the course presents budget and outreach hurdles.
"It is very important not to be discouraged by the past," said Joseph Dehmer, director of the division of physics of National Science Foundation. "I think we'll have good coming years. The opportunity for discovery is greater than it has ever been at any time in history."
|P5 Chair Charlie Baltay
Hundreds of users attended talks about Tevatron advances and analysis, proposed neutrino experiments and the U.S. participation in CMS at the LHC. Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) chair and Yale professor Charlie Baltay presented the subpanel's report, which laid out three roadmaps contingent on varying funding scenarios. The panel identified priorities for the field, including experiments at the energy frontier, neutrino science, dark energy and dark matter searches and R&D on a high-intensity proton beam.
U.S. Congressman Bill Foster, a 22-year-veteran of Fermilab, urged users to attend the third Workshop on Physics to plan experiments that would meet short-and mid-term research goals.
"Don't be afraid to try something new," he said.
A culture of that supports only short-term projects has hurt particle physics, Foster said, but the recent Senate approval of a supplemental funding bill and public interest in keeping the country competitive offer hope.
"Across the political spectrum there is recognition of the need for basic research," he added. "The problem is keeping the politicians focused."
Washington policy makers repeatedly stressed that particle physicists must make the case for the benefits of particle physics to the nation's health, security and economic well being.
"Advances in technology are not steady, but when it happens, it can change civilization," Dehmer said. "Particle physicists are the most fearlessly creative group of people I know. They push the frontiers of technology and social organization."
-- Tona Kunz