Unity in Beijing: The Global
Nature of Particle Physics Communication
By Neil Calder
It was 10 p.m. on Thursday in California, midnight on Thursday in
Chicago, 7 a.m. on Friday in Europe, 2 p.m. on Friday in Japan and 1
p.m. on Friday, August 19, in Beijing when Jonathan Dorfan stood up to
announce the recommendation of the International Technology
Recommendation Panel at the ICHEP conference. In a breathless hush, 700
physicists assembled in the huge conference auditorium as well as the
whole world’s particle physics community were waiting.
The subsequent Press Release, issued within minutes on
and the SLAC Web site, was something new. A major announcement about a
proposed accelerator coming not from a single laboratory, as has always
been the case, but a joint statement issued by the International
Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA), with expressions of support
from the directors of five world labs.
With this release, high energy physics communication has moved on from
the traditional model of individual labs working independently, to a
unified statement speaking for all.
At the press conference following the announcement, five lab
directors—Robert Aymar (CERN), Jonathan Dorfan (SLAC), Yoji Totsuka (KEK),
Albrecht Wagner (DESY) and Mike Witherell (FNAL)—all expressed the same
determination to move ahead with the design of the International Linear
Never before had world particle physics spoken to the press with one
voice. A new unity had been forged.