Report of the SLAC Scenarios Study
By Heather Rock Woods
For 40 years SLAC has hummed with scientific excitement day and night,
and it will be no different in the year 2015.
|Drawing Courtesy of Diana Rogers
That’s the conclusion of the newly
released SLAC Scenarios Study, which examined what the Lab might look
like in 2015 in the context of the huge international effort to build a
new linear collider.
“The report shows SLAC is going to remain a vibrant place with a strong
physics program,” said Tom Himel (NLC), who co-chaired the scenarios
committee with Research Director Persis Drell.
“The pillars of the program are strong. The Lab is flexible, able to
respond to new advances and surprising results that will unfold as the
next decade progresses,” the report states. The committee made no
recommendations on which scenarios to pursue—its job was to provide
feasible options, not to produce a fixed road map.
High Energy Frontier
“The scenarios study is a tool management can use to plan how to get
from where we are to where we want to be,” Himel said. Over the past
year, the committee solicited opinions from SLAC users, staff and
faculty in public seminars and at a Town Meeting. The committee worked
on the baseline assumptions that the PEP-II/BaBar program has a strong
future through 2010, that a linear collider will be built, that SSRL has
a bright future with its SPEAR3 and x-ray laser (LCLS) programs, and
that particle astrophysics will grow here under the auspices of the new
Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology.
On the high energy frontier, all the scenarios include SLAC continuing
to play a leadership role in the new linear collider, as well as sizably
increasing the Lab’s advanced accelerator R&D aimed at making future
machines both feasible and affordable. The linear accelerator (linac)
remains a solid foundation in SLAC’s program under all scenarios, to be
used for test beams and linear collider research, for advanced
accelerator studies and for the upcoming x-ray laser. “The ubiquitous
SLAC linac has enabled forefront science for 40 years on the SLAC site
and is likely to do so for decades to come,” noted the report.
An interesting conclusion the committee drew was that, while the type of
linear collider projects would change, the scope of SLAC’s on-site
effort would basically be the same, whether the linear collider is built
in the U.S. or elsewhere, no matter which technology is used to supply
accelerating power. As builders of the world’s only linear collider to
date, SLAC has vast experience, and believes that the X-band technology
that it has developed in collaboration with KEK in Japan and other
national and international partners is the best technology choice.
“This is an enormous project with room for SLAC leadership in many
areas,” Himel said.
Flavor Physics Pillar
The biggest variation in the four scenarios is in the ‘Flavor Physics’
pillar. The current B Factory program (PEP-II/BaBar) runs through 2010.
After that, the committee outlined different possibilities, including
building a ‘Super’ B Factory here with massively better luminosity
(based on ongoing accelerator R&D), making a lower-cost medium
luminosity upgrade, helping Japan’s KEK lab upgrade their B machine, or
ending the program.
The study also considered many opportunities for smaller high energy
physics experiments. The scenarios committee had two sub-groups: one on
linear collider options, co-chaired by Tor Raubenheimer (NLC) and Ewan
Paterson (TD); and one on other physics options, co-chaired by Lance
Dixon (THP) and John Seeman (AD). “We were pleased with the
participation of the SLAC community in this process. I want to thank the
committee for the wonderful job they’ve done over the last year,” Himel
To read the report, see:
You can also Town Meeting at: