Mike Lindgren, head of the Particle Physics Division, wrote this column.
Last month we celebrated the final chapter in Tevatron operations. Already, as I go through the CDF and DZero buildings I see major changes. PPD technical teams are securing the detectors and preparing the buildings for their next use. At CDF the work inside the building is going at a furious pace to match the construction schedule of the Illinois Accelerator Research Center building, and at DZero we are clearing out two decades of equipment from the high bay to prepare for construction of the MicroBooNE experiment, starting right after Christmas. This work helps us to close a historic chapter for the lab and helps usprepare for the next one.
The director and DOE have articulated a clear focus for particle physics in the three experimental frontiers: Energy, Intensity and Cosmic. With the close of the Tevatron, PPD’s focus on the Intensity Frontier has gotten even stronger, mirroring the direction of the future program in the U.S. At the end of November, many PPD scientists will travel to Rockville, MD to participate in a DOE Office of ScienceIntensity Frontier workshop that will help define our future work.
There are exciting opportunities at the Intensity Frontier to build and operate experiments that use rare processes to search for new physics. For some, their study requires intense beams and large detectors. In others, highly precise detectors capable of distinguishing between rare processes and mundane backgrounds are needed.
At the workshop, we will work to identify these opportunities, determine what can be learned, assess what can be done with current facilities and technology, and explore what new facilities or new technology are needed to reach this frontier’s full physics potential. Many of PPD’s most talented people, both experienced and early in their careers, have been preparing materials and case studies for some time. They are still recruiting help for the final push that is needed during the next few weeks. The results that come out of the workshop will help DOE provide direction for the field, and for the work that PPD scientists, engineers, technicians and staff will focus on for the next decade.