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Director's Corner

The Summary Report explained

| 3 September 2015

Artist’s impression of the future ILC. Image: Rey.Hori

Let me start by explaining the context of this summary report. In September 2013, the Science Council of Japan (SCJ) submitted a report on the study of the International Linear Collider to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) (see LC NewsLine from 10 October 2013). The SCJ report recommended the government to allocate funds necessary to study risks and discuss with potential partners in the next two to three years. Following this recommendation, MEXT set up the ILC Advisory Panel to study these issues.

Last month, this Panel issued a report called “Summary of the International Linear Collider (ILC) Advisory Panel’s Discussions to Date.” This is an important step for MEXT and Japan to move forward.  The report is still an interim one, since the study by the Panel continues to further study the human resources aspect of the project and the international trend to the project.

In the report of the Panel, the scientific merit of the ILC project is clearly given:

“The ILC is considered to be important because of its capability to investigate new physics beyond the Standard Model by exploring new particles and precisely measuring the Higgs boson and top quark. It should be also noted that the ILC might be able to discover new particles which are difficult to be detected in LHC experiments.”

The summary also states:

“ILC experiments are able to search for new particles, different from the ones that LHC experiments have been searching for. In case these new particles are supersymmetric particles, ILC and LHC experiments can study them complementally. On the other hand ILC experiments can carry out more precise measurement of the Higgs boson and the top quark, which are beyond the reach of LHC experiments.”

 The report says in the section of “International Collaboration”:

“The European and American particle physics community expects Japan to proceed with the ILC project in line with their strategies. However, current plans and budget of their countries do not explicitly define the ILC project. It is necessary to proceed based on worldwide attitudes to the ILC project.”

In the past the international community has confirmed the scientific significance and the consensus of indispensability of the ILC at several occasions. It is very important to transfer this information to the appropriate governmental officials of possible participating countries. To move the project forward to the next step, MEXT wants to see the interest in the project outside of Japan. I understand that most of the countries are not able to make decision to participate in the project before seeing the green sign from Japan. This step, however, does not require commitment of participation: what it needs is that government officials understand the eagerness of their own scientific community. Since the ILC is a truly international project, the enthusiasm of the international community as well as understanding the communities’ wish by the government officials in appropriate positions are necessary.

In the report “Social effect of the ILC project” is given especially on the technological and economic spin-offs:

“The Survey and Analysis of the Technological and Economic Spin-Offs of the ILC Project and Global Research and Technology Trends in Particle and Nuclear Physics estimates that the ILC project will in the end generate domestic demand worth JPY 2.10 trillion and lead to production worth JPY 4.46 trillion. This is the estimated impact of the ILC project over a 10-year construction period and a 10-year operational period.”

These numbers do not include serendipitous spin-offs such as the economic effect of the world wide web invented at CERN. The effect of scientific education for the next generations is an even more important factor.

The report includes three recommendations. I will give interpretation of these in a consistent view of the first parts of the report.

 “Recommendation 1: The ILC project requires huge investment that is so huge that a single country cannot cover, thus it is indispensable to share the cost internationally. From the viewpoint that the huge investments in new science projects must be weighed based upon the scientific merit of the project, a clear vision on the discovery potential of new particles as well as that of precision measurements of the Higgs boson and the top quark has to be shown so as to bring about novel development that goes beyond the Standard Model of the particle physics.”

 We all understand that discovery is NOT guaranteed at any frontier machines. However, for the ILC experiment, a clear discovery potential beyond the Standard Model has been demonstrated already. This information should be described in a more understandable fashion, and a small committee is working on a new concept to make the science graspable for everybody.

The report also states ‘… it is indispensable and essential prerequisite for the implementation to have a clear vision of participation and cost sharing by international partners …’. Even though this may sound like a stringent condition, it actually allows MEXT to initiate serious talks with other countries. Based on this recommendation MEXT is set to make such a move in the near future. It is critically important, however, that the receiving side is well prepared for such talks. So, please convey the importance of the ILC project and your enthusiasm to your governmental officials!

“Recommendation 2: Since the specifications of the performance and the scientific achievements of the ILC are considered to be designed based on the results of LHC experiments, which are planned to be executed through the end of 2017, it is necessary to closely monitor, analyze and examine the development of LHC experiments . Furthermore, it is necessary to clarify how to solve technical issues and how to mitigate cost risk associated with the project.”

Surely we will monitor LHC physics in the current running period. Many physicists outside and inside of Japan tend to misunderstand this recommendation, thinking it means that MEXT will keep quiet during this running period and wait for the end of Run2 in 2018. This is absolutely not the case. MEXT will further study the project feasibility including possible human resources of the project. A recent ILC Progress Report by LCC to be published soon answers most of the technical items in the Panel’s report. We need to digest and clarify these in a more understandable fashion.

“Recommendation 3: While presenting the total project plan, including not only the plan for the accelerator and related facilities but also the plan for other infrastructure as well as efforts pointed out in Recommendations 1 & 2, it is important to have general understanding on the project by the public and science communities.”

The international public relations as well as those in Japan will be reinforced specially by KEK and the industry supporters of ILC in Japan (AAA, Advanced Accelerator Association Promoting Science & Technology). Discussions with scientists of other fields have been undertaken by the KEK’s Director General in Japan.

After the meeting of the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA)on 19 August, the ICFA chair, Joachim Mnich, wrote a letter to the chair of the MEXT ILC Advisory Panel. The letter says that ICFA discussed the report from the Panel, and thanks them for their significant effort. “We (ICFA) appreciate the very important summary document which indicates the serious interest of Japan in hosting a linear collider and which we take as an encouragement for work of the worldwide ILC community. ICFA is preparing a short document to clarify some of the issues and questions raised in the summary report. The document will be submitted to the Panel before the end of this year. We (ICFA) would be pleased to assist in obtaining further information in case the need arises in the course of the investigation.”

Particle physics is at an essential turning point. The direction of the field will be determined by the next discovery of new particles or new phenomena beyond the Standard Model, most likely in the next few years at the LHC. As stated in the report of the Panel, ILC has “capability to investigate new physics beyond the Standard Model by exploring new particles and precisely measuring the Higgs boson and top quark.” For this important step we need both the LHC and the ILC. The governments’ recognition of the enthusiasm of their own community is a very important factor for Japan to proceed towards a positive decision.

The ILC is inevitable and we need to show that.

Sachio Komamiya

Sachio Komamiya, University of Tokyo, is Chair of the Linear Collider Board.
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