LBNE collaboration expands to more than 500 members

The LBNE collaboration met at Fermilab last week. Photo: Cindy Arnold

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment, with more than 500 collaborators, is now the largest neutrino experiment collaboration in the world. In his opening address at last week’s collaboration meeting at Fermilab, LBNE co-spokesperson Robert Wilson reported that LBNE now counts 527 members from 90 institutions, including 139 from 35 institutions in eight non-U.S. countries. There were 159 registered participants at the July collaboration meeting, the largest attendance LBNE has enjoyed to date.

Based on recommendations from the recent P5 report, a process to form a new fully internationalized collaboration to be called the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility has begun. During this transition, the collaboration will continue to operate and grow as LBNE to maintain continuity as the new organization evolves. Members of LBNE will make up a major part of LBNF.

“As the reformulation process takes place, we look forward to helping establish a project that fulfills the vision of a world-class neutrino experiment,” said Milind Diwan, LBNE co-spokesperson.

The growth of LBNE continues a many-year trend in high-energy physics toward fewer and larger experiments. As the scale and complexity of new projects continues to grow, larger numbers of scientists are needed to carry out the design of the experiment and the analysis of the data. Other large neutrino physics collaborations include T2K and IceCube, with recent author lists of 326 and 302, respectively. Daya Bay, Double Chooz, ICARUS, MicroBooNE, MiniBooNE, MINERvA, MINOS, NOνA and RENO each number between 40 and 200.

It is likely that more than 1,000 people will work on the new experiment, a prediction based on the growth of MINOS and NOvA from this point in their history, and particularly given the fact that many students and postdocs will join at a later stage, when physics data is likely to be collected. The largest collaborations in high-energy physics are the CERN experiments ATLAS and CMS, which currently have about 3,000 scientists each.

“The accelerator-based neutrino communities worldwide have been growing. They have convinced the larger particle physics community that a combined short- and long-baseline neutrino program is rich in physics and worth major investments,” Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer told the LBNE collaboration. “The Department of Energy and Fermilab are working together for success, and international funding agencies are at the table. This is an unparalleled opportunity to establish a united international collaboration for long-baseline neutrino physics based at Fermilab.”

Maury Goodman, LBNE deputy spokesperson