HEPAP meeting

Fermilab Director
Pier Oddone

The High Energy Physics Advisory Panel, which advises the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation, met in Maryland last week. The panel’s two days of discussion covered many important topics, including the draft European Strategy and the report from the Facilities Subpanel charged by HEPAP to classify large high-energy physics facilities proposed to be built or upgraded over the next 10 years.

The European Strategy identifies long-baseline neutrino oscillation experiments as one of the four high-priority global programs. The draft strategy encourages European scientists to explore collaborating with experiments in the United States and Japan. We hope that European groups’ strong interest in liquid-argon time projection chamber technology will lead them to work with LBNE. There is a great deal of strength in Europe on liquid-argon technology, including the successful operation of the pioneering 600-ton ICARUS experiment at Gran Sasso and the large effort on the Long-Baseline Neutrino Observatory, a European Commission-funded project very similar to LBNE.

The modular nature of LBNE makes it possible to add modules of European design to increase the far-detector mass at Homestake. Significant participation from Europe would allow us to place a larger detector underground in the experiment’s first phase. An investment of a larger far detector would have a huge scientific payoff in the long run, when high-power Project X beams drive a facility unequaled in the world. Our deputy director and the leadership of LBNE traveled last week to discuss these possibilities with our European colleagues.

DOE and NSF have asked a subpanel led by HEPAP Chair Andy Lankford to classify large high-energy physics facilities proposed to be built or upgraded over the next 10 years. When approved by HEPAP, the classification will be submitted to the Office of Science, which will prioritize large facilities across the various fields of science in its domain. The goal of the prioritization is to optimize the national benefit from federal investments in science. The target date for this prioritization is Sept. 30, 2013, and it will be based on: (1) the ability of the facility to contribute to world-leading science, (2) the readiness of the facility for construction and (3) an estimated construction and operations cost of the facility.

The classification by the Facilities Subpanel was presented to HEPAP with in-depth discussions that took several hours. Among projects that would be built on U.S. soil, LBNE, Mu2e and Project X were considered absolutely central facilities, ready to be built, with the first phase of LBNE considered an important step toward the realization of the full scope of LBNE. We will be working with the global high-energy physics community to bring enough resources to move the first phase of LBNE from an important step to an absolutely essential step. The nuSTORM muon ring and experiment were considered to have great potential but the subpanel concluded that the requirements are not yet fully defined and that we do not know enough yet to assess nuSTORM’s role in U.S. world‐leading science. Among projects built off-shore and where Fermilab has major ongoing efforts, the high-luminosity LHC upgrades were considered absolutely central facilities, with R&D ongoing to resolve the remaining technical challenges.

So far it has been a very good outcome for the facilities based at Fermilab that serve our large user community.