ICFA report and Beacons of Discovery

October 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

The latest report from ICFA (International Committee for Future Accelerators) was released yesterday, and you can obtain it from http://www.interactions.org/beacons/. The title is Beacons of Discovery – The Worldwide Science of Particle Physics.

The report seems to be aimed at the general public and perhaps politicians who are responsible for science funding – you will not find any critical evaluation of different avenues of future research in this report. For that, you might prefer to view the HEPAP Report from the U.S. Department of Energy, or something like that.

It is interesting that the main emphasis is on the global nature of particle physics research, for example: “Reaching a grand synthesis [of ideas] or discovering the next set of mysteries will require a spectrum of research approaches in nations around the world.” This is a far cry from the competitive approach of “U.S. vs. Europe vs. Japan” that characterized science thirty years ago.

The science questions posed are suitably grand:

  1. What message do neutrinos bring from the beginning of time?
  2. What’s the matter with antimatter?
  3. How can we solve the mystery of dark energy?
  4. Are we on the threshold of a whole new understanding of nature’s particle and forces?
  5. What is the trajectory of our universe? How did it evolve?
  6. Do invisible processes leave their imprint on the world we can observe?
  7. What is dark matter?
  8. Are there extra dimensions of space?
  9. Is there a simple explanation for it all?

There are appropriate pictures of T2K, ATLAS, superconducting RF, various DM experiments and Pierre Auger and Noνa. The importance of particle physics to, e.g., medical techniques and research, and to training and inspiring young minds, is presented.

It is a nice report, very well executed. What grabbed me the most, however, is this (page 22 of the full report):

page 22 from the ICFA report

Members of the CMS group at Northwestern, in front of the CMS detector


I nearly jumped out of my chair when I came to this page, since it shows my group in front of the CMS detector. From the left, the people are Prof. Mayda Velasco, me, Dr. Radek Ofierzynski (postdoc), Steve Won (graduate student) and Andy Kubik (also a graduate student). This picture was taken, among dozens of others, by a professional photographer around 2009, when I was at CERN on sabbatical. None of us knew that our images would be used in a public document like this – not that we are displeased. 😉

It certainly made my day to see our group depicted as a Beacon of International Collaboration!

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Entry filed under: Particle Physics.

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