National funding agencies join for deep underground lab
The proposed Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory project would unite multiple scientific fields in one underground laboratory. But it already has begun to bring people together, including officials from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.
Representatives from DOE and NSF plan by the end of the year to sign a memorandum of understanding formalizing their roles as stewards or participants in various projects in DUSEL's suite of experiments.
The agencies will coordinate and oversee separate lists of experiments. But their roles are interdependent, said Jon Kotcher of DOE's Office of High Engery Physics at the DUSEL users' meeting at Fermilab on Sept. 3.
"We actually participate in one another's reviews by sending observers, for example," Kotcher said. "DOE participates in NSF reviews and vice versa in order to keep abreast of the developments on both sides of the ledger. This helps to bridge that gap, which is actually quite useful."
The project has a solid base of support in Washington and the high-energy physics community, Kotcher said. One of the priorities of DOE's Office of High Energy Physics is to implement a world-class Intensity Frontier program centered on Fermilab. DUSEL also enables pioneering experiments at the Cosmic Frontier and in biosciences, geosciences and engineering.
Members of the DUSEL users' organization impressed Joseph Dehmer of NSF with their enthusiasm for playing a role in the program.
"The activity in this stage exhibits a youthful vigor," he said at the meeting. "I encourage you to enjoy it; it's fairly rare."
DOE's deputy secretary approved the mission need for an experiment using a beam of neutrinos generated at Fermilab, a near detector at Fermilab and a far detector located underground, preferably at the DUSEL site in Lead, S.D. NSF will contribute to the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment at DUSEL, including possible contributions to the excavations, infrastructure and detector components.
-- Kathryn Grim