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Date: 23 April 2004
World's Physicists Endorse Linear Collider
Paris--Over 2600 physicists from around the world have signed a document supporting a high-energy electron-positron linear collider as the next major experimental facility for frontier particle physics research, members of the World Wide Study of Physics and Detectors for a Linear Collider announced today.
"Such consensus on what the next research facility should be is unprecedented," said Prof. Jim Brau, University of Oregon, "It is a tremendous endorsement. Experimenters, theorists and accelerator scientists, graduate students and Nobel prizewinners have all signed up to support the linear collider." The announcement came today at an International Conference on Linear Colliders being held in Paris this week under the auspices of the World Wide Study.
In January 2004, a Ministerial Statement from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also endorsed the plan for global collaborative development of a linear collider and noted the consensus of the scientific community on the importance of a new-generation facility.
The linear collider will be one of the essential tools to answer new and emerging questions about matter, energy, space and time. In the last 30 years, physicists have achieved a profound understanding of the fundamental particles and the physical laws that govern matter, energy, space and time. Researchers have subjected this "Standard Model" to countless experimental tests; and, again and again, its predictions have held true. Now, in a development that some have compared to Copernicus's recognition that the earth is not the center of the solar system, startling new data have confirmed that only five percent of the universe is made of normal, visible matter described by the Standard Model. Ninety-five percent of the universe consists of dark matter and dark energy whose fundamental nature is a mystery. The Standard Model's orderly and elegant view of the universe must be incorporated into a deeper theory that can explain the new phenomena. The result will be a revolution in particle physics as dramatic as any that have come before.
"The linear collider will be a revolutionary research facility that will provide the sharpest, cleanest window to the world of elementary particles ever built, allowing scientists to probe with clarity the most fundamental mechanisms of matter and the universe," said Nobel laureate Masatoshi Koshiba of the University of Tokyo.
The 30-km-long accelerator will have two main linear accelerators oriented opposite one another, propelling head-to-head beams of electrons and their antimatter twins, positrons, to within nearly light speed before colliding them. Working in a real-time dialogue with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), currently being installed in CERN in Geneva, will allow the discoveries from each accelerator to be used to make further discoveries at the other.
The strong support from the world physics community for the linear collider is another step forward in the build-up toward approval of the project.
"The linear collider will not only investigate new frontiers in physics and technology but also in international science collaboration. This project will go ahead as a closely coordinated international collaboration, with shared costs and shared benefits, on a scale and scope not seen before in science," said Maury Tigner, director of the Laboratory of Elementary Particle Physics at Cornell University and chair of the International Linear Collider Steering Group.
In 1999, scientific panels studying the future directions for particle physics in Europe, Asia and the United States concluded that a linear collider would be an essential complement to the LHC at CERN. As a consequence, the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) recommended pursuit of accelerator research and development for a linear collider in the TeV energy range. In 2001-2002, the three regional organizations of the high energy physics community--the Asian Committee for Future Accelerators (ACFA), the European Committee for Future Accelerators (ECFA) and the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP) from the U.S.--reached the common conclusion that the next accelerator should be an electron-positron linear collider with an initial energy of 500 GeV, running in parallel with LHC, and later upgradeable to higher energies.
"I am delighted by the response from physicists worldwide, particularly by the number of young researchers who have signed the document," said Prof. Francois Le Diberder, deputy director of IN2P3 in Paris. "Participation in the linear collider gives young scientists the challenge of taking part in the most exciting scientific quest of the 21st century."
Issued by Worldwide Study of Physics and Detectors for a Linear Collider.
Full information on the consensus paper 'Understanding Matter, Space and Time' is available at