Latest on ILC/CLIC/LHC

Barry Barish, the director of the ILC project, has a statement here about the recent UK decision to stop funding R and D work on the ILC. He writes that “losing the UK’s contributions to the ILC will have a significant negative impact on our R & D program.” For more press stories about this, see here and here.

Barish also has an article here about CLIC, CERN’s competing design for a linear collider, one that is in a much more preliminary state than the ILC design. He writes that the ILC project will now be exploring ways of collaborating with CERN as it investigates the feasibility of CLIC:

When I visited CERN last month, I had the opportunity to have a meeting with the CLIC Extended Steering Committee, including CERN Global Design Effort members. I suggested that joint work between the ILC and CLIC could have benefits for both efforts. They responded positively, and a number of specific areas have been identified where both groups could benefit. It is clear that the timescale for a machine like CLIC, even if feasible, is much later than the ILC. So the reason to consider CLIC is for energy reach, if required.

Following my visit to CERN, I discussed these joint efforts with the GDE Executive Committee, and we agreed to the general idea. As a result, the GDE Project Managers will explore specific areas of collaboration with CLIC. An exchange of ideas has begun by email, and a meeting is now planned at CERN for February 2008 to explore specific areas of cooperation.

Today the CERN Council officially ratified the choice of DESY’s Rolf-Dieter Heuer to succeed Robert Aymar as Director General of CERN. At DESY Heuer was responsible for ILC R and D, so some people at CERN have been concerned that their new leader will be someone from the competition to CLIC, and thus might not be inclined to enthusiastically and aggressively now push the project and compete with his old colleagues from the ILC.

The Council also approved a budget designed to begin preparations for an LHC luminosity upgrade by 2016, and heard a report from the director on the status of the LHC project. Until recently the date for the LHC start-up was set at mid-May 2008, but the official word from Aymar now is just “early summer 2008”, with no specific date to be set until spring:

Today, we’re on course for start-up in early summer 2008, but we won’t be able to fix the date for certain before the whole machine is cold and magnet electrical tests are positive. We’re expecting that in the spring.

The press release also notes that:

Any difficulties encountered during this commissioning that require any sector of the machine to be warmed up would lead to a delay of two to three months.

The latest version of the official schedule is here, and news about progress here, with the news putting the project a month or so behind the schedule.

Update: Science has an article about Heuer’s appointment, quoting him on the ILC/CLIC issue as saying “It’s a mistake to back one horse. We need different horses”. Also:

Barry Barish, leader of the ILC’s Global Design Effort, is happy to have Heuer on board. “Clearly, from the perspective of the ILC, the appointment of the new [director general] is a very, very positive thing,” he says.

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4 Responses to Latest on ILC/CLIC/LHC

  1. Roger says:

    Rolf-Dieter Heuer is a first class physicist who understands CERN’s core business of producing publications of experimental results from colliders. I’ve met him on several occasions and was impressed each time. He is ideal both for the LHC and CLIC programs – I don’t buy the idea that he’ll drag his feet on the CLIC issue out of misplaced allegiance to the ILC.

    With the UK funding agency debacle in mind CERN should be grateful they have a weighty, intelligent figure in the top post who knows what must be done on the ground floor to get the job done.

  2. Coin says:

    To what extent does CLIC function as a replacement for the ILC? That is to say, if we somehow wind up building the CLIC but not the ILC, would the CLIC be able to do everything the ILC would in addition to its better “energy reach” capabilities? Or would building just the CLIC force us to give up access to some block of data?

    When we say the CLIC is in a more preliminary stage than the ILC, or that its timescale is “much later”– vaguely how much later is “much later”? Two years? Five years? Ten years? If the ILC becomes delayed for some reason (say, because the LHC takes awhile in getting out the data needed to make a decision on the ILC, perhaps?) how long would it have to be delayed before we find the CLIC actually within striking range as an alternative?

  3. Peter Woit says:


    As far as I know CLIC would have similar capabilities to the ILC, but be able to get to higher energies (say 3 TeV vs. .5 TeV).

    I don’t think anyone knows yet how long “much later” is, but it’s definitely >2-5 years. The ILC people already have a detailed design and are not far from the point where you could start building a machine, CLIC is nowhere near that. My understanding is that the goal of the current research on CLIC is to be able to answer your question in 2010, so that when LHC results arrive, a sensible choice between the ILC and CLIC designs could be made.

  4. DB says:

    The debate between ILC vs. CLIC may be a red herring. What’s increasingly clear is that the successor to the LHC will no longer be simply a US or European affair. Like the ISS, or ITER, it can only be successfully conceived and implemented as a truly international collaboration – because the financial commitment will be too great for any one economy to justify. As currently formulated, the ILC is only half-hearted in its adherence to the spirit of international cooperation.
    Similarly, CERN has conceived CLIC as a development of existing accelerator assets in Geneva.
    When the time comes to make a decisions, I expect political and economic realities will force experimental HEP to mirror other mammoth civilian science and engineering projects by developing a truly global approach.
    It may be that Barish and Hauer are already thinking along these lines.

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