Muon collider challenges will be discussed at conference

Physicists and scientists from all fields of high-energy particle physics are invited to attend the Muon Collider 2011 conference, which will take place June 27 through July 1 in Telluride, CO.

The meeting will provide opportunities for accelerator physicists, experimentalists, theorists and experts in advanced detector design to discuss the ins and outs of a future proposed multi-trillion electron volt (TeV) muon collider.

“There are many more steps, and a substantial investment is required to understand if this type of machine is feasible or not,” Geer said. “A muon collider is a very ambitious type of machine, but if we get it to work, it has an enormous payoff.”

The organizers of the conference would like to see people from both labs and universities attend, including members from the broader physics community, said Estia Eichten, Fermilab theorist and conference co-chair.

“This conference is an opportunity for people to get involved at an early stage,” Eichten said.

Plenary lectures will cover the background and present state of all aspects of the muon collider, including challenges with the physics, detector and accelerator, Eichten said.

A poster session, a physics and detector working group session and an accelerator working group session will also take place.

“The conference is organized in such a way that someone who knows nothing about muon colliders could come to the meeting and learn,” said Steve Geer, Fermilab’s co-director for the Muon Accelerator Program.

A project as massive and chock full of challenges as the proposed muon collider requires the concerted effort of people from diverse backgrounds in order to succeed, Eichten said.

“We have to make sure that if we plan a machine 20 years ahead of time that it will be a forefront machine in the future,” Eichten said. “That’s a complicated task and you can’t always be sure you’ll succeed in doing it.”

Plans for R&D efforts will continually evolve as the LHC yields data over the next several years. The challenge will be anticipating what new physics will be uncovered, so that the next experiment will be in position to make the next set of big discoveries, Eichten said.

While ongoing accelerator R&D studies in the high-energy physics field have been taking place for over a decade thanks to the Muon Accelerator Program stationed at Fermilab, the physics and detector research areas are fairly new and much work remains to be done.

“This conference will be the first to begin to tackle these questions to move the muon collider along to where we can begin to make some decisions on what to do,” Eichten said.

Christine Herman