We particle physicists have lived through some exciting times recently. A few years ago, the world witnessed live when the LHC was switched on for the first time (to my countdown). A few days later, one of the interconnects broke, and it took us more than a year to get the LHC back into shape. The world watched again when we had first collision, but all this was topped by last year’s 4-July announcement that the Higgs had been found. What a day! It was both a culmination of many years of hard work and determination and a pointer towards the future of the field.
Another culmination of many years of hard work was celebrated two weeks ago in a relay symposium to announce the publication and official handover of the ILC’s Technical Design Report. It may not have been as ground breaking as the Higgs discovery, but it was an emotional moment nevertheless – what an achievement to combine several R&D projects in various stages into one global effort to design the best possible partner and successor to the LHC. In three events in Asia, Europe and the US (and several national labs as well), the people who made it all happen celebrated this massive milestone. I actually flew from Wales to Tokyo, arriving an hour before the official starting time to attend and speak at the Asian event. Some 50 journalists had gathered in the room, cameras were snapping away when Sachio Komamiya handed me the TDR and I can’t quite recall how many interviews I gave to Japanese media at the press conference that followed.
I take this great interest in the project and the story of the ILC as a sign that the Japanese public is ready to consider welcoming the ILC in their country as a great new science adventure. It is therefore time to put the physics emotions to the side and to get back to facts. We are all looking towards Japan these days. We know Japan is a strong and trustworthy partner that would be an ideal host to a new, global laboratory like the ILC. We are ready to start negotiations on a concrete future.
In a few weeks the two possible sites, one in the Sefuri region of Japan and one in the the Tohoku region, will have been evaluated internally in Japan and one will have been selected. This site will then be studied in detail by an international committee to ensure that it meets all the technical requirements.
I would also like to congratulate Nigel Lockyer, who will succeed Pier Oddone as Fermilab Director on 1 July. I look forward to working with Nigel and am curious about his vision for Fermilab’s collaboration in the Linear Collider.
Greetings from San Francisco, where I am attending the Lepton Photon Conference!