Proposed plan for the future of U.S. particle physics
||The Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel's report, released Thursday, recommends a strategic path forward for U.S. particle physics. Image: Sandbox Studio|
Particle physics will become even more of an international endeavor in the coming decades, according to a panel charged with developing a strategic plan for the future of U.S. particle physics, whose long-awaited recommendations were released [Thursday].
According to the panel, top priorities for U.S. particle physics include continuing to play a major role at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe; building a world-leading neutrino program hosted in the United States; and participating in the development of a proposed future linear collider, if it is built in Japan.
"The United States and major players in other regions can together address the full breadth of the field's most urgent scientific questions if each hosts a unique world-class facility at home and partners in high-priority facilities hosted elsewhere," the panel members wrote in their executive summary.
The 25-member Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) was charged in September 2013 with developing a draft strategic plan for U.S. particle physics for the next decade and beyond. P5 reports to the federal High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP), a 24-member body that formally advises both the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Science Foundation on support of particle physics.
HEPAP is expected to consider and vote on the panel's recommendations during a two-day public meeting being held in Bethesda, Maryland, [Thursday] and Friday.
The P5 report culminates a more-than-year-long process that began with meetings of members of the U.S. particle physics community in late July and early August of last year and ended with P5 working by consensus to create a unified strategy.
"The community was deeply engaged, and we're very grateful for that," says physicist Steven Ritz of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who led the P5 panel.
The plan recommends a U.S. particle physics program that will pursue research related to the Higgs boson, neutrinos, dark matter, dark energy and inflation, and as-yet undiscovered particles, interactions and physical principles.
To keep the United States at the forefront of particle physics, the plan advocates for investing a larger portion of the DOE high-energy physics budget in the construction of new experimental facilities, raising the level from 16 to 20 to 25 percent.
"This is a discovery-driven field," Ritz says. "In order to discover, you have to build."