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Press Release: A New Step Towards Worldwide Collaboration on Linear Colliderss

Date Issued: March 01, 2002


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For two weeks in February the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) was the focal point for discussion and long term planning in global high-energy physics. Over a period of several years, a process of research and development, meetings and discussion has allowed the worlds High-Energy Physics community to move towards a common vision on the next major facility. Reports published by the Asian Committee for Future Accelerators (ACFA), the European Committee for Future Accelerators (ECFA) and the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP) all recommended that a 500 GeV, electron-positron linear accelerator, designed, built and operated, as a fully international collaboration is the right choice.

At their recent meeting held at SLAC, the Directors and senior managers of the worlds High-Energy Physics laboratories, who make up the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA), announced that an International Steering Committee will be set up to promote the Linear Collider project.

The decision to set up an International Steering Committee for the Linear Collider project is important, said Hirotaka Sugawara, Director of the Japans KEK Laboratory and Chairman of ICFA. It illustrates a convergence among the worlds physics communities that the Linear Collider should be a fully international collaboration. This group can start to examine the practical steps to be taken to decide on design, funding and collaboration issues.

The International Steering Committee will be made up of members from separate European, Asian and North American steering groups, with several more members from additional countries. The first meeting of the International Steering Committee will be held in Amsterdam this summer.

The Linear Collider will require the very best scientific, technological and management skills of all participants, said Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Director Michael Witherell. Different approaches to the demanding technological requirements are being developed in Europe, Japan and the USA. All are making convincing progress, but a final choice will have to be made. Similarly a site will have to be chosen from a range of possibilities.

Two other meetings of international scientists at the SLAC site in early February helped to focus the world High-Energy Physics community on how to proceed. The new accelerator will be some 20 miles long, will need five times higher collision energy and higher luminosity than any previous linear collider. Novel alignment techniques are being developed to collide beams that are only a nanometer wide. The Ninth International Workshop on Linear Colliders (LC02) brought together 250 of the worlds leading specialists in linear collider design concepts to continue their assessment of the demanding technologies which are the basis for the success of the project.

The scientific and technological issues are major challenges in themselves, but equally important and challenging is creating a political and administrative structure to channel and maximize the abilities of all the participating nations.

The fundamental understanding that science is now a global undertaking has laid the foundation for a powerful synergy, said Albrecht Wagner Director of the DESY laboratory in Germany. The most efficient and responsible method is to pool brainpower and financial resources to construct one facility, which belongs equally to all.

International scientific and political representatives also met at SLAC for the Consultative Group on High-Energy Physics of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Science Forum. The group discussed the final conclusions of its report on generic issues surrounding future particle physics projects and also held a joint meeting with ICFA. The Groups report will be presented to OECD members at a meeting of the Global Science Forum to be held in Paris in June 2002.

SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan said, These three meetings at SLAC, largely devoted to the Linear Collider project, made important progress towards a common goal of establishing a future frontier accelerator facility for High-Energy Physics. Physicists and administrators from America, Asia and Europe came to first listen and then reflect together on the most responsible way to move ahead. The collaborative spirit of these events was very encouraging for the future of the Linear Collider.

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