Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Message from Fermilab Director Pier Oddone

Symmetry Breaking has conveyed a message from Fermilab Director Pier Oddone on the news that the Dept. of Energy will not continue to fund the operation of the Tevatron beyond fiscal year 2011.

Today we received the news that we will not receive funding for the proposed Tevatron extension and consequently the Tevatron will close at the end of FY2011 as was previously planned. The present budgetary climate did not permit DOE to secure the additional funds needed to run the Tevatron for three more years as recommended by the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel.

We plan to run the Tevatron this year and extract all the physics results we can. The Tevatron has exceeded all expectations. The life of this legendary machine has been marked by historic discoveries made possible by its innovative accelerator and detector technologies. The experience developed during its operation has also immensely helped the development of the LHC accelerator and detectors. Fermilab is and will remain a very strong part of the LHC program and will continue to pursue physics at the high-energy frontier together with our collaborators at CERN.

The Office of Science is committed to maintain our laboratory as a world leader for particle physics research. We have its strong support to develop into the foremost laboratory at the Intensity Frontier with new neutrino experiments NOvA, MicroBooNE and the Long Base Line Neutrino Experiment (LBNE); the muon-to-electron conversion experiment (Mu2e); and ongoing experiments MINOS, MINERvA and MiniBooNE. Underlying our Intensity Frontier program we have the Office of Science’s support for the development of Project X. In addition we have leading programs at the Cosmic Frontier with the Dark Energy Survey, the dark-matter experiments CDMS and COUPP, and Pierre Auger. While we would have liked to run the Tevatron for three more years, our life going forward is full of promising projects and great opportunities for major discoveries.

– Fermilab Director Pier Oddone

It would have been "easier" if the Tevatron stop running because of a consensus that it just won't produce anymore outstanding physics, and that the LHC will have the upper hand in all of this. Unfortunately, this time, it appears that the economic situation and the funding constraints that the DOE is under became the major factor in shutting down this historic facility.

So after Sept., no more high energy physics collider experiments in the US.

BTW, someone pointed out to me, after my statement in the previous blog post, that we still have collider experiments at RHIC and JLab. Yes, those are true, but those are not considered to be "high energy physics" experiments. They are not funded by the High Energy Physics division of the DOE. They are "nuclear physics" experiments, even though at some point, the line between the two is a bit fuzzy (for example, LHC also ran heavy ion collision that's similar to what RHIC was doing).


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