Last week’s workshop in Washington DC was remarkable in several ways: a very high attendance,
a very high level of energy and an excellent exposition of the broad and exciting scientific program at the Intensity Frontier. With the leadership at the Energy Frontier moving to Europe and the LHC for the next two decades, the workshop demonstrated that programs and projects at the Intensity Frontier also give us the opportunity to answer many of the fundamental scientific questions of our era.
The study of neutrinos and rare processes allows us to investigate energies much higher than those accessible at the LHC, albeit in an indirect way. It is very much an open question whether we will be able to develop technologies for new particle colliders that will directly produce energies much higher than at the LHC, or that any such technology will be affordable. In the meantime the Intensity Frontier will be a very active area of exploration no matter what LHC scientists find. At one limit, where the LHC pours out new physics phenomena, the Intensity Frontier will be essential to help us interpret what we see at the LHC. At the other limit, where the LHC gives us a paucity of new results, processes we study at the Intensity Frontier will give us the only handle on the physics of the next energy scale.
The opportunities for physics must come first, but they do not make a healthy program by themselves. To tackle these opportunities is a great challenge that will advance our accelerator, detector and computational technologies, push our ability to manage large projects integrating national and international partners, and challenge us with the analysis and theoretical interpretation of the results. Fermilab has a central role in working with the scientific community to define the opportunities—the focus of last week’s workshop–and to meet the great challenge of implementing a world-class program.
The raison d’etre for national laboratories is an enabling function: to tackle scientific problems of scale that are important for the nation and demand multidisciplinary teams, unique facilities, infrastructure and a critical mass of talent. To the extent that they fulfill this mission, laboratories have a healthy program and serve the community. Thanks to the strengths built at Fermilab over the last many years we are in a unique position to enable the national and international community to take the next steps at the Intensity Frontier.