The Next Few Years in Particle Physics

By far the most important event for particle physics during the next few years will be the beginning of operation of the LHC, now planned for 2007. Besides that, here are various sources of information about what else will be going on, especially in the U.S.:

A National Research Council committee called EPP 2010: Elementary Particle Physics in the 21st Century was formed last year, charged to:

“Identify, articulate, and prioritize the scientific questions and opportunities that define elementary-particle physics.”


“Recommend a 15-year implementation plan with realistic, ordered priorities to realize these opportunities.”

It has already had a couple meetings, and presentations to these meetings are available here. They plan to have more public meetings this year and produce a report by the end of the year.

If you want to follow the details of current and future funding for particle physics in the U.S., there’s a lot of information in the presentations to this week’s HEPAP meeting. The overall picture is for particle physics funding to decrease over the next few years, under the pressure of the huge U.S. budget deficits. Beyond a proposed 3.1% cut for particle physics next year, the DOE is planning for another 3.7% cut in its overall science budget over the following five years. In this environment it is very difficult to find funding for new projects. One proposed new one, called BTeV, which was to study B-physics at the Tevatron, is slated for cancellation. Another, RSVP, a search for rare decays at Brookhaven, is being reevaluated.

The DOE budget document points out that the future of Fermilab is a problematic issue. Tevatron operations are slated to wind down in FY 2009, when the LHC should start producing data. The new NuMI/MINOS neutrino beam and detectors will still be running then, but it is not clear for how long. Unless a major new machine (such as the ILC linear collider) is sited at Fermilab, it’s not clear what the laboratory will be doing after 2010. Such a major new machine would be expensive, so it’s not something that could be financed out of a DOE HEP budget that continues to decline. There’s a comment about this in Jochen Weller’s weblog.

There’s a conference this week in Aspen on The Highest Energy Physics and some of the talks are already on-line.

Finally, Serkan Cabi at MIT has put together a nice collection of links to videos of physics seminars, he also has a weblog.

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6 Responses to The Next Few Years in Particle Physics

  1. Chris Oakley says:

    We don’t need ten billion dollar experiments to tell us string theory is true!

    This requires further explanation. Are you saying

    (i) You can prove String theory for less than $10bn? or

    (ii) String theory is true regardless of what any experiment says?

    If (i), please tell us more. Apparatus, procedures, etc. If (ii), then I thought as much – String theory is a religion and not a science.

  2. Ludwig says:

    Anonymous poster Mr. Blank says (in jest? it is hard to tell)

    “We don’t need ten billion dollar experiments to tell us string theory is true!”
    Posted by: at February 17, 2005 07:31 PM

    Astonishing. Is this a parody of what string-true-believers are supposed to be saying? Even as a joke it is in pretty poor taste.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We don’t need ten billion dollar experiments to tell us string theory is true!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Don’t be too worried about the futere of Fermilab. Steve Holmes (a higher-up there) gave a talk yesterday where he lays out some of the near future for the lab. The bottom line: BTeV is gone, but its kind of like getting that monkey off your back – so now they will be able to invest in Linear Collider and Proton Driver research. Research that had been held hostage to support the BTeV research program when LHCb was already well underway.

  5. Serkan Cabi says:

    Thank you very much for your kind advertisement Peter. I hope it reaches everybody who needs it. I know many places where listening a quality colloquium is a big event. We are very lucky here in US in this respect. But I am not sure how long it will continue. I should say that many interntional students here at MIT has severe concerns about staying US after their studies. I don’t understand what Bush administration has in mind. I tend to think that they are just xenophobics and want us to leave the country.

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