Research Director's Report

“Crazy” years await us – or maybe not

This month's Research Director's Report was written by Juan Fuster, co-chair of the Worldwide Study and regional detector contact for Europe.

| 21 April 2011

Don Quijote and Sancho Panza drawn by Honoré Daumier. Image: Verlagsgesellschaft mbH under the GNU Free Documentation License.

…acreditó su ventura, morir cuerdo y vivir loco
(… a crazy man his life he passed, but in his senses died at last)

Epitaph of Samson Carrasco upon the tomb of
The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (Part two 1615)

The book written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in 1605 (part I) and in 1615 (part II), The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, constitutes a master lesson on the greatness and the misery of the human condition. In Spain, this book is studied in primary school, but I realised that it is not until now that I start to understand it. The story is driven by Don Quixote, who behaves like a crazy person but who often argues with admirable common sense. Cervantes unveils the importance of the ideals and shows the value of freedom and justice. He also warns about the very subtle distinction between reality and appearance in most circumstances. The unfortunate adventures of Don Quixote teach about life and brim with generosity, absurd situations, loyalty, and imaginary heroic deeds of a high spirit.

I write in this section of ILC NewsLine for the first time, and as Sakue Yamada suggested to me, this constitutes an opportunity to show my views on the International Linear Collider project. In this sense the story of Don Quixote comes very often to my mind when thinking on it. The ILC project, accelerators and detectors, is an extremely demanding scientific and technological challenge that requires the detached effort of many people all over the world, only some of whom, by the way, are physicists. Furthermore its fulfilment is not guaranteed by the viability or technological results obtained as it requires other additional conditions, more sociologically based, to be achieved as well. This is due to its large scale and the amount of needed resources.

Today the ILC project status is in my opinion in an excellent but dramatic situation. It is ‘excellent’ because all R&D activities have successfully demonstrated the viability of the project, the acceleration principle is shown to work and its technical construction is proven to be feasible. The detector concepts have been studied and first complete designs exist already. A physics programme including a light Higgs scenario, top physics studies and searches for new physics has been developed complementary to that of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In addition, a large number of spinoffs have been derived from all these activities as, for example, the European X-ray Free Electron Laser project, new vertex and calorimeter technologies of present use in other experiments and several applications to industry and other scientific disciplines like astrophysics or biology and medical physics. New international structures involving worldwide panels and committees are continuously being explored and created to guide the project.

On the other hand, the situation is also ‘dramatic’ because most of the developed programmes are coming to their conclusions and the moments to make decisions for further actions are either approaching or have already arrived. Continued funding represents a hitting problem. The present world economic situation and, again, the large scale of the project further complicate the situation. If we were running the marathon our present situation in the race would be very far from the start but still quite a way to the finish. It is at this moment when the runner feels exhausted and he or she cannot think reasonably, the body has consumed all glycogen and needs to change to its reserves in fat. This is known as ‘the wall’ and it is when most doubts occur. Strong physical and psychological training is then necessary to overcome this step. It is the moment for the best Don Quixote. In our case we should remind to ourselves that we still keep a very good position in the race and our option to battle for the win remain untouched. Furthermore, LHC results might soon provide us with additional fresh sugar in the form of new discoveries. Our next provisioning will, in any case, happen in about year and a half from now, by the end of 2012, when the detailed technical documents will be produced. These are the Technical Design Report for the machine and a Detailed Baseline Design Report for the two detectors, ILD and SiD. We need to keep the rhythm of work and the motivation high until then.

The ILC accelerator superconducting technology represents a suitable solution for a linear collider with an energy range from
0.5 TeV to probably 1 TeV. For higher energies other acceleration techniques need to be pursued. This is the case for the Compact Linear Collider (CLIC) concept. The energy range of the CLIC machine covers the range from about 0.5 or 1 TeV to up to 2 or 3 TeV. The development of the CLIC project is in a more early stage than the ILC but has the potential to reach higher energies. It is foreseen that the CLIC Concept Design Report (CDR) will be produced by the second half of 2011. The search for synergies between the two projects is important, and it is happening. The ILC community is now also involved in producing the CDR documents and later the CLIC community has committed to also help in producing the TDR and DBD documents. This cooperation represents a remarkable achievement.

My present appointment as chair of the ECFA study on positron-electron linear colliders, which extends until 2013, succeeds that of CNRS/LAL’s Francois Richard, who was in this position since 2005. It is a great honour for me to take this responsibility and especially to replace Francois, whom I’ve known for a long time, ever since we worked for DELPHI at LEP in the early 1990s. I hope to reach his level of enthusiasm and efficient work serving the ILC project. As European regional contact I am also very pleased to join the team of the detector management, which is coordinated by Sakue Yamada and includes Hitoshi Yamamoto (Asia) and Jim Brau (Americas).

Under European scientific policy, our next plan for the European Strategy for Particle Physics has to be defined by the end of 2012 and consequently the documents produced by the ILC and CLIC communities will be of major importance and use. The discussion will be held in the European field but in reality the opinion and sensitivities of all regions will play an essential role.

The coming years are thus going to be extremely exciting and, I hope, will not necessarily drive us crazy, though there is some risk of that. Intense scientific discussion will follow the interpretation of LHC results and ideas about strategic plans will be offered. The high moral virtues and heroic deeds of our beloved and very wretched character, Don Quixote, should be a guiding example for our actions. However we should also learn from him that to die, it is not unavoidable to reach common sense.

To finish, I would also like to profit from these lines to announce the next Linear Collider Workshop, LCWS11, which will be held in Granada, Spain from 26 to 30 September this year and which will be common to the two linear collider concepts, ILC and CLIC. The city of Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, Beiro, Darro and Genil. The Alhambra, a Moorish citadel and palace, is in Granada and is one of the most famous buildings of the Islamic historical legacy in Spain. The Almohad urbanism, with some fine examples of Moorish and Morisco constructions, is also preserved at the part of the city called the Albaicín. The Alhambra and the Albaicín are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city is very open and welcoming for visitors, a very pleasant place to enjoy talking about the linear collider together with the latest results from LHC.

Juan Fuster

Juan Fuster (IFIC-Valencia) is co-chair of the Worldwide Study and the regional detector contact for Europe.
Recent Comments

Comments are closed.