Director's Corner

22 September 2005

Barry Barish
My job as GDE Director has been defined by the International Linear Collider Steering Committee (ILCSC) in the Annex of the MOU between collaborating institutions. This document, which is still being finalized, lists as one of my responsibilities in Section 5.3 of the Annex "he/she will be the primary representative for the project in interactions with external entities..." This turns out to be a rather consuming but not uninteresting part of my job, as these 'entities' turn out to vary from various scientific or technical groups to press, school kids and the public.

In the past couple of weeks, I have given presentations to two of these 'external entities' that I thought were worth sharing with the ILC community today. In both cases the interest relates to how the growing ILC design effort will fit into the broader context of the worldwide high energy physics program. To achieve our goals for the GDE, we will require increased resources over the coming few years, if we are to accomplish a design and costing effort, initialize partnerships with industry and continue our R&D program to support the baseline and alternatives for the machine. How do our ILC/GDE ambitions fit into the other ambitions for particle physics projects in the coming years?

In 2001, a HEPAP subpanel that I co-chaired with Jon Bagger of Johns Hopkins was charged with the job of creating a long range plan for particle physics for the U.S. One outcome of that study was the realization that there was no mechanism in place that involved the scientific community in determining priorities nationally between projects that cost approximately $100-500M. Projects could be approved by one laboratory, and then end up competing for funding with other such initiatives from another laboratory. In order to insure sufficient community input into the resulting difficult and important priority decisions, the HEPAP long range subpanel recommended the creation of the 'Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5).'

This P5 panel was constituted and is chaired by Abe Seiden of the University of California, Santa Cruz. They are now actively working on creating a 'roadmap' for HEP projects in the US for the next 5 years or so, taking into account only approved projects, budget projections, etc. Clearly, the needs of our growing program toward the ILC must be carefully considered in creating a realistic roadmap, and for that reason, it was very useful for me to be able outline to P5 our plans and needs for the next few years.

My second meeting with an external entity over the last couple of weeks was at CERN, where I was invited to give a report on the ILC / GDE to the CERN Scientific Policy Committee, chaired by Ken Peach, the recently appointed director of the John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science in the U.K. This was a nice opportunity for me to be able to present the GDE and ILC to that group and to get their reactions to what we are doing and our plans. In general, the reactions were quite encouraging, and not surprisingly there was much interest in the interplay between our plans for the ILC, and their programs for the LHC and for CLIC.

As an aside, the discussion that followed my presentation to the CERN SPC regarded the CERN Council undertaking of developing a strategic plan for particle physics research in Europe, apparently a responsibility foreseen in the founding convention for CERN. A subgroup will do much advance work in preparation for a meeting next spring in Berlin, where they plan to approve a strategic plan. Such a development clearly has much importance in the future of particle physics in Europe.