I recently mentioned that funding for the RSVP experiment is being reevaluated. More details about this are available in a recent issue of Science magazine.

The Rare Symmetry Violating Processes (RSVP) project is a proposed experiment at Brookhaven that would have two components. One, “MECO” would search for neutrinoless conversion of a muon to an electron, observation of which would indicate new physics beyond the standard model. The other component, “KOPIO”, would try and measure the decay rate for neutral kaons to a pion, neutrino and anti-neutrino, a CP violating decay whose rate is predicted by the standard model.

Last fall the NSF had allocated money to start building the experiment, which was projected to cost $158 million. The idea was to use the AGS accelerator at Brookhaven, which in recent years has mainly been used as an injector for the heavy-ion collider RHIC. It seems though that revamping the AGS for use by RSVP may cost a lot more than people had originally thought, pushing the cost of RSVP up to as much as $300 million. The potential cost of RSVP is being reviewed, and HEPAP has been asked to evaluate the results that RSVP may be able to achieve at different levels of funding. According to Michael Turner, head of mathematical and physical sciences at the NSF, “We will reevaluate [RSVP’s] scientific value, its cost, and then make a decision.”

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6 Responses to RSVP

  1. Arun says:

    Finding something precise experimentally beyond the Standard Model will wonderfully focus theorists’ minds, IMO, and will liberate some of them from the thralls of string theory. We would have a precise term in the effective Lagrangian that has to be accounted for by theory.

  2. Chris Oakley says:

    Sorry to comment “on topic”, but it is a general principle that if you want a precise answer you have to ask a precise question.

    Precise question, example 1: is there such a thing as luminiferous ether?

    Precise question, example 2: is there a narrow resonance in e+e- scattering at 3.1 GeV?

    And so on. Vague searching around for unexpected things does not fit this particular bill and is probably a reason to be pessimistic about the RSVP project. After all, the universe of possible unexpected things to look for is huge and it does seem slightly pointless to pick on two particular things forbidden by the standard model when no-one actually has a theory that could be brought into play if SM-violating events are found.

    What is more, with theory in its current state, I see no prospect of theorists being able to deliver any predictive, realistic alternatives to the SM.

  3. Peter says:

    Hi Lubos,

    Just wondering, are all the connections to my weblog from strings.*.*.edu and coming from stupid readers or very stupid readers?

    I also recommend that people in search of high-level intellectual discussion about Feynman check out Lubos’s website. Just please keep that discussion over there amongst the much smarter readership.

  4. Luboš Motl says:

    Feynman did not like string theory, so I suppose that both types of readers of this anti-string-theoretical blog – the stupid readers as well as the very stupid readers – will enjoy an article about Feynman here.

  5. Lubos Motl says:

    I personally don’t know what we would do if we knew that mu can decay to e+gamma with some rate etc. We would know there is physics beyond the SM (which we know anyway), but what exactly it is would remain highly ambiguous.

    KOPIO would probably just confirm the Standard Model.

    But there are other people who may find this project very important, so let’s not overestimate the importance of particular personal comments.

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