Future of Fermilab

Nature this week has an editorial about Fermilab entitled All or Nothing at Fermilab associated with a news article Fermilab: High-risk physics. The article and editorial are about the fundamental problem facing Fermilab: in a few years the high energy frontier will move to the LHC at CERN, with many physicists leaving Fermilab. The future of the lab remains up in the air, as the only viable plan for a new high-energy accelerator is the ILC project, and this would require massive new funding which is still quite uncertain. While SLAC has diversified into X-ray physics, Fermilab remains committed to operating at the highest energies. Many people worry that if the ILC is not funded or delayed for many years, Fermilab will be in a difficult position, and a prime target for budget cuts.

This week the lab is hosting the annual “User’s Meeting”. Presentations about current and future activities at Fermilab are available on-line.

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One Response to Future of Fermilab

  1. Tony Smith says:

    The Nature Editorial abstract at
    says in part “… If Fermilab builds the ILC, it will regain its position at the forefront of international science; failure could lead to staff reductions and intellectual atrophy. … the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) [is] due to enter service in 2008. …”.

    If Fermilab succeeds in getting the ILC, then it may be prosperous for many years.
    However, if Fermilab’s ILC efforts fail, Fermilab has only 2005-2008 of lifetime left before obsolescence.

    In the latter event, there is in my opinion a way for Fermilab to go out in glory instead of dying with a whimper: consider non-consensus interpretations of existing Fermilab data.

    The Fermilab T-quark data show 3 peaks at (roughly):
    130-150 GeV (low)
    160-190 GeV (middle – containing the usual consensus 173 GeV value)
    200-240 GeV (high)

    These values of T-quark masses can be seen in terms of a plot of the Higgs mass vs. the T-quark mass with vacuum stability and triviality boundary lines show, as done by Froggatt in http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/hep-ph/0307138

    A simple Nambu-Jona-Lainio model gives a 145 GeV T-quark, consistent with the low value. (See Yamawaki in http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/hep-ph/9603293 )
    The corresponding point on the Froggatt diagram is well within the usual region with respect to triviality and vacuum stability.

    An 8-dimensional Kaluza-Klein Nambu-Jona-Lasinio model gives a 172-175 GeV T-quark, consistent with the middle (and usual consensus) model.
    The 8-dim Kaluza-Klein is similar to the model of Batakis in Class. Quantum Grav. 3 (1986) L99-L105, in which the compact 4 dimensions are CP2.
    The corresponding point on the Froggatt diagram is on the vacuum stability line, possibly indicating that it is on the line between a 4-dim vacuum and an 8-dim vacuum, in which case the T-quark data might be used to study the higher Kaluza-Klein dimensions.

    A Bardeen-Hill-Lindner model, similar to a gauged Nambu-Jona-Lasinio and four-Fermi model, gives a 218 GeV T-quark, consistent with the high value. (See Hashimoto, Tanabashi, and Yamawaki in http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/hep-ph/0311165 )
    The corresponding point on the Froggatt diagram is the critical point at which the usual region is intersected by both the triviality boundary and the vacuum stability boundary.

    How I view this stuff, with some pictures, are in a pdf file at http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith/YamawakiNJL.pdf which is a pdf version of my web page at

    Roughly, it seems to me that further analysis of existing Fermilab data in the regions of all three peaks might give important insights into the mutual interactions of the T-quark, the Higgs, and the Vacuum, possibly shedding light on many important questions such as the origin of mass and possible higher Kaluza-Klein dimensions, all in terms of experiments that can be (and some of which have already been) done with realistic technology.

    Please note that the above is only one proposal for how further analysis of existing Fermilab data might produce interesting physics insights that may or may not be seen at LHC, depending on how LHC selects its data by triggers, cuts, etc., and how LHC analyzes its data.
    However, it is an example of how Fermilab might get some interesting and important results over the next few years even if the ILC is never built.

    Tony Smith

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