Fermilab Steering Group Report

Chapter 1
Executive Summary:
A Plan for Fermilab

Executive Summary: A Plan for Fermilab

The Fermilab Steering Group has developed a plan to keep U.S. accelerator-based particle physics on the pathway to discovery, both at the Terascale with the LHC and the ILC and in the domain of neutrinos and precision physics with a high-intensity accelerator. The plan puts discovering Terascale physics with the LHC and the ILC as Fermilab's highest priority. While supporting ILC development, the plan creates opportunities for exciting science at the intensity frontier.

If the ILC remains near the Global Design effort's technically driven timeline, Fermilab would continue neutrino science with the NOνA experiment, using the NuMI (Neutrinos at the Main Injector) proton plan, scheduled to begin operating in 2011. If ILC construction must wait somewhat longer, Fermilab's plan proposes SNuMI, an upgrade of NuMI to create a more powerful neutrino beam. If the ILC start is postponed significantly, a central feature of the proposed Fermilab plan calls for building an intense proton facility, Project X, consisting of a linear accelerator with the currently planned characteristics of the ILC combined with Fermilab's existing Recycler Ring and the Main Injector accelerator. The major component of Project X is the linac. Cryomodules, radio-frequency distribution, cryogenics and instrumentation for the linac are the same as or similar to those used in the ILC at a scale of about one percent of a full ILC linac.

Fermilab Steering Group Meeting
An open meeting of the Fermilab Steering Group, July 9, 2007. Credit: Fermilab Visual Media Services.

Project X's intense proton beams would open a path to discovery in neutrino science and in precision physics with charged leptons and quarks. World-leading experiments would allow physicists to address key questions of the Quantum Universe: How did the universe come to be? Are there undiscovered principles of nature: new symmetries, new physical laws? Do all the particles and forces become one? What happened to the antimatter?

Building Project X's ILC-like linac would offer substantial support for ILC development by accelerating the industrialization of ILC components in the U.S. and creating an engineering opportunity for ILC cost reductions. It offers an early and tangible application for ILC R&D in superconducting technology, attracting participation from accelerator scientists worldwide and driving forward the technology for still higher-energy accelerators of the future, such as a muon collider.

To prepare for a future decision, the Fermilab Steering Group recommends that the laboratory seek R&D support for Project X, in order to produce an overall design of Project X and to spur the R&D and industrialization of ILC linac components needed for Project X. Advice from the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel will guide any future decision to upgrade the Fermilab accelerator complex, taking into account developments affecting the ILC schedule and the continuing evaluation of scientific priorities for U.S. particle physics. Fermilab should also work toward increased resources for longer-term future accelerators such as a muon collider, aiming at higher energies than the ILC would provide.

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