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Dorfan Today: The ILC – The Pace is Heating Up

Realizing the International Linear Collider (ILC) involves a grand and novel vision—designing one of the most complex and challenging scientific installations ever conceived by splitting up responsibilities amongst groups scattered all over the world, each relying on their own funding agencies and using different costing and engineering procedures. We have done this very successfully with major, $150M-scale, particle detectors—Babar and GLAST being two of many examples. But never before have we designed a “global” accelerator facility, let alone a multi-billion-dollar-class facility. Well this is what we are doing and to everyone’s satisfaction it is working!

Substantial and rapid technical progress is being made, coordinated through the internationally-federated Global Design Effort (GDE, for the accelerator) and Worldwide Study (WWS, for the detectors). This growth is being fueled by increased financial support for the R&D supplied by governments around the globe. Nowhere is the increased activity more apparent than in the U.S., where the major HEP laboratory and university researchers are central to both the accelerator and detector efforts. President Bush’s FY2007 budget proposal could not carry a more positive and encouraging message—the FY2007 budget doubles the linear collider funding from the FY2006 mark of $30M to $60M. This increase is part of the 14% increase in the Office of Science’s FY2007 budget proposal, which marks the beginning of Administration’s proposed doubling of the Office of Science budget over the next ten years. The proposed doubling would create the growth needed in the DOE’s budget to underwrite a U.S. bid to host the ILC.

At last Friday’s dedication ceremony of the wonderful new Kavli building, both Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Congressman Mike Honda spoke of the incredibly exciting times we are living through in science, the discovery opportunities just ahead and our responsibility for inspiring the generations to come. The ILC will be one of the great scientific discovery tools of all time and I am personally thrilled by the increasing momentum in the R&D program and the growing worldwide support for the project. At the same time, I continue to be awed by the breadth and depth of the contribution that SLAC is making to the technical effort.

The latest step forward for the ILC was the WWS-sponsored Linear Collider Workshop and concurrent GDE meeting held in Bangalore, India, on March 9-13. Over 400 people attended these meetings, representing yet another indication of the enhanced ILC effort.

The Workshop participants continued preparing submissions for the Detector Concepts Report (DCR), which will be finalized at the end of 2006. This document describes the scientific case for the detectors and explains both the capabilities needed and the R&D required to achieve it.

Regarding the GDE progress, SLAC’s Nan Phinney and Tor Raubenheimer tell us that presentations at Bangalore demonstrated that an enormous amount of work has been accomplished since last December’s meeting in Frascati, Italy. For the first time, engineers and physicists from around the globe presented detailed work on the common reference design. The biggest challenge at this meeting was to consolidate the plan to estimate the cost of the ILC. The Design Cost Board, chaired by Peter Garbincius of FNAL, found a middle ground in the disparate costing methodologies that they believe will allow the Board to determine the ILC’s projected cost by the end of the year. In addition, the Research and Development Board, including our own Tom Himel and Marc Ross, successfully prioritized the ILC’s R&D tasks. GDE Director, Barry Barish, took steps to strengthen the management structure responsible for the machine Reference Design Report (RDR), which along with the cost estimate, is due by the end of this calendar year.

The ILC is the critical next step for global high energy physics and I am greatly heartened by the recent progress internationally. Maintaining, indeed increasing, the momentum is crucial and I encourage all our U. S. and worldwide colleagues to coherently and loudly trumpet their support for this incredible scientific endeavor.

—Jonathan Dorfan
    SLAC Today, March 20, 2006