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.
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.