Fermilab Today Thursday, June 8, 2007

Strong Fermilab future essential for US particle physics

Robin Staffin

“We have the responsibility to assure that the US particle physics program stays healthy,” DOE’s Robin Staffin, Associate Director for High Energy Physics told Fermilab users, even with a stretched-out schedule for the proposed International Linear Collider. A strong future for Fermilab is essential for a healthy program—and for a future U.S. bid to build the ILC, Staffin told the audience at the Users’ Annual Meeting at Fermilab on Wednesday, June 6.

Staffin emphasized that patience is crucial in ILC planning, particularly until the nature of discoveries at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider become clear. Meanwhile, “there are other opportunities for great science and discovery potential,” he said, citing dark matter and dark energy, neutrinos, B decays, cosmic rays, proton decay and other precision measurements.

“The Tevatron takes us to the door of the Terascale,” Staffin said. “The LHC opens the door wide and the multibillion-dollar question is, ‘What will we see?’ There is a strong sense that we are on the edge of something big. The next step ahead is less clear. How do we go through the looking glass where we know we will see the universe in a different way?”

The time to reach international agreements on the ILC will be years from now, Staffin acknowledged. And agreements are a necessity. “This is not about winning arguments, this is about winning partners,” Staffin said in response to a question from the audience. “Something on the scale of the ILC requires partnerships.”

He reiterated DOE’s interest in the possibility of hosting the ILC at Fermilab, given the constraints of affordability and scientific validation by the LHC. Wherever the ILC is sited, he said, “The US will be an active participant at the negotiating table.”

-- Kurt Riesselmann

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