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Dorfan Today: Update on the ILC

The release of the Reference Design Report (RDR) for the International Linear Collider (ILC) in Beijing at the beginning of February was a remarkable milestone in the evolution of the project. The Global Design Effort (GDE) has prepared a detailed overview of the ILC design parameters and succeeded in gaining international agreement from all involved in the project. The RDR is the product of a new process in planning future particle physics installations, as it was not written by staff from one laboratory but by engineers and physicists from all over the world. The new techniques and protocols of global collaboration that have been established for the on-time publication of the RDR have broken completely new ground. As we all know, accelerators are not simple things and the ILC in particular is a complex piece of machinery. I do not imagine that many of you will read the whole 700 page RDR, but I recommend the Companion Document that summarizes the main points in non-technical language, which you can download here. The next stage of the project is the development of a detailed Engineering Design Report.

What has been the response from the Department of Energy to the RDR? Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, DOE Undersecretary for Science, spoke to the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP) on Thursday, February 22, and underlined his vigorous support for the ILC. I had the opportunity to discuss the ILC with him face to face last Monday and Ray stressed his steadfast support for the ILC. He encourages us to continue with, and to build up, the R&D effort within the U.S. as part of the international R&D program being led by the GDE. This strong support for the ILC R&D program is reflected in the President's FY2008 budget, where the ILC R&D funding is $60 million and there is an additional $23 million for development of the superconducting RF technology which is an essential part of the ILC baseline design. Ray also confirmed that the ILC remains the highest mid-term priority for the Office of Science's Twenty Year Facilities Outlook.

This continued support for ILC from the DOE is very gratifying. We at SLAC are in the thick of R&D for the accelerator and great progress is being made. The successful testing last week of our home-grown Marx modulator is an excellent example. Read Barry Barish's column to appreciate the impact this work has had in the ILC community.

SLAC is fully committed to continuing our efforts in support of the GDE's strategy as scientists around the world work creatively together for the final realization of the ILC.

—Jonathan Dorfan, March 5, 2007