P5 at Fermilab

Fermilab Director
Nigel Lockyer

While this would normally be a “bye week” for my column, I wanted to take the chance to inform the entire laboratory community about this past weekend’s meeting of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5). The panel, chaired by Steve Ritz from UC Santa Cruz, is charged with developing an updated strategic plan for the United States that can be executed over a 10-year period in support of a 20-year global vision for the field. The Fermilab-hosted P5 meeting, the first of three open meetings for the panel, focused on input from the 2013 Snowmass meeting, neutrino research and the international particle physics environment.

More than 200 physicists participated and presented and discussed many good ideas. Fermilab scientist Regina Rameika presented the consensus view from the lab’s Science Priorities Working Group. This group has been working very hard over the last month to develop a set of recommendations, with input from the broader scientific staff, for Fermilab’s role in an optimized particle physics program. The view presented to P5 focused on:

  • continued involvement in the LHC and its upgrades,
  • a full-scope LBNE experiment with a far detector deep underground at the Sanford Lab,
  • a reorientation of Project X toward the goal of delivering greater than 1 MW of beam power on day one of LBNE operations,
  • next-generation rare-decay experiments that will take place this decade,
  • select Cosmic Frontier experiments,
  • a short-baseline neutrino program that builds on liquid-argon time projection chamber technologies,
  • and future accelerator R&D efforts dictated by a global plan.

The theme of a global plan for particle physics and accelerators surfaced many times throughout the meeting — this topic is here to stay. The discussions on neutrinos emphasized the exciting physics opportunities that exist and how to exploit them. There was an open microphone session where the community had an opportunity to express its views on the future program, and many participants took that opportunity to share their views with the P5 committee.

The next face-to-face P5 meeting is from Dec. 2-4 at SLAC, and the final meeting is from Dec. 15-18 at Brookhaven, where Fermilab will present in greater detail its plans to upgrade its accelerator complex for the LBNE experiment. The final P5 report, which will represent the U.S. particle physics community’s consensus roadmap recommendations for the next decade, is due in spring 2014 and will be delivered to HEPAP for review before it is officially submitted to the funding agencies.