PAC and new ideas

Fermilab Director
Pier Oddone

We are very fortunate to have a great Physics Advisory Committee comprising distinguished scientists from the national and international particle physics community. Over the last several years the PAC has helped Fermilab establish an exciting suite of future experiments. Although this set of experiments uses all of the financial resources currently available to us, the flow of ideas has not stopped, and our creative user community continues to propose very attractive experiments using our current and future facilities. For example, past PAC meetings have analyzed proposals for the ORKA experiment to measure kaon decay, the LAr1 experiment to study short-baseline neutrino anomalies, and the nuSTORM project to create an on-site muon ring to study neutrino cross sections and anomalies in unprecedented detail. Of these previously considered ideas, ORKA is the only one to have first-stage approval from the lab, which allows us to discuss the experiment with the funding agencies.

The PAC met again last week, and in addition to reviewing essential parts of our ongoing program, they once again heard ideas and proposals from several groups for the following intermediate and long-range projects:

  • The study of WIMPs using MiniBooNE and adding scintillator to the MiniBooNE mineral oil to unravel the cause of the MiniBooNE low-energy anomaly;
  • An experiment to study quantum chromodynamics in nuclei by using polarized beams from the Main Injector, with the addition of a single “Siberian snake” to the Main Injector;
  • Two options for the study of dark energy using spectroscopic probes in existing telescopes to study the evolution of dark energy using baryon acoustic oscillations;
  • An electrostatic proton storage ring for polarized electrons to study the electric dipole moment of the proton 1,000 times better than it is now understood and in the range that would be produced by TeV-scale supersymmetry; and
  • Ideas on how to use Project X to study neutron-antineutron oscillations that would violate baryon number conservation.

The report of last week’s PAC meeting will be published after we have had a chance to discuss the committee’s recommendations with the various proponents. We are greatly encouraged by the continuous flow of new creative ideas from our users and the thorough analysis and vetting from our PAC.