Fermilab Today Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010

APS honors Fermilab's Eichten and Quigg with 2011 Sakurai Prize

From left: Chris Quigg, Ken Lane, Ian Hinchliffe and Estia Eichten will receive the 2011 Sakurai Prize for their famous paper, "Supercollider Physics."

From left: Estia Eichten, Ian Hinchliffe, Ken Lane and Chris Quigg at the 1984 Snowmass Summer Study on the Physics of the Superconducting Super Collider, the conference where the authors first presented their paper.

More than 25 years ago, four theorists spent many a late night drafting a map for hadron colliders to explore energy regions at the Tevatron and beyond. Their efforts resulted in producing the ultimate guidebook that influenced the design and early analyses from particle accelerators and experiments over the past two decades and still has a large impact today.

The American Physical Society will honor these four theorists, Estia Eichten of Fermilab, Ian Hinchliffe of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Kenneth Lane of Boston University and Chris Quigg of Fermilab, with the 2011 J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics. They will receive the prize for their work “to chart a course for the exploration of TeV scale physics using multi-TeV hadron colliders,” according to the APS citation.

“Their work has been the physics bible for all of us,” said Fermilab Director Pier Oddone. “It has told us about the physics to come, and now we are about to find out what nature has in store for us. Their efforts are still very valuable to the field of particle physics today, and this recognition couldn't come at a more appropriate time."

When Eichten, Hinchliffe, Lane and Quigg first started working on their famous paper, “Supercollider physics,” in 1983, their immediate goal was to make sure that the parameters for the Superconducting Super Collider were correct. Together, they analyzed all of the discovery possibilities from 2 TeV to 100 TeV, scoping out the physics of the Standard Model and beyond. The paper described what scientists would see at each level of energy and luminosity for both proton-proton and proton-antiproton collisions. 

What started as a project for one machine quickly turned into a resource document for planning all future hadron facilities and detectors, including the Large Hadron Collider.  By setting the standards for all of the potential discoveries, Eichten, Hinchliffe, Lane and Quigg provided a starting point for other theorists to do analyses that had never been done before.

“It is nice to write a definitive paper, but it is even nicer if what you do is good enough to interest other people and stimulate them to go one step further,” Quigg said.

Today all four theorists continue to pursue collider physics beyond the Standard Model and build on the roadmap they drafted all those years ago.

"We continued to actively pursue this Terascale physics and now look forward to the LHC discovering the physics underlying electroweak symmetry breaking,"  Eichten said. “Then, we move onto the next puzzle.”

APS will present the four recipients with their awards at the April meeting in Anaheim, California. In other words, Eichten, Hinchliffe, Lane and Quigg just won the 2011 Sakurai Prize, and they’re going to Disneyland.

-Elizabeth Clements
Fermi National Accelerator - Office of Science / U.S. Department of Energy | Managed by Fermi Research Alliance, LLC.
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