A word from the DG: A shared adventure

Fermilab has just inaugurated its Remote Operations Center, a focal point for Fermilab’s participation in the LHC. From the ROC, Fermilab scientists can monitor the accelerator and the CMS experiment as if they were here. It is a symbol of the shrinking world of particle physics research.

With a little help from the speed of light along a fibre, the ROC will make sitting at Fermilab little different from sitting at CERN when it comes to being part of the LHC project. When we start running next year, scientists at Fermilab will be able to do almost everything that we can do here, with only the view of the prairie to remind them that they are not actually at CERN.

The LHC is set to allow physicists from around the world to address a range of fundamental questions about our Universe, and it is set to do so in ways never done before. The LHC project is allowing a global community of scientists to conduct their research in a more unified manner, forging a model for future collaboration. This is true not only for our field of science, but for other fields and indeed for society as a whole. Not for the first time is cooperation in research providing a model for the world to follow.

Where else in the world can you find over 100 nationalities working in harmony towards a common goal? The list of nations represented in the LHC project seems to grow each day. In September, Malta signed a collaboration agreement with CERN.

As we approach LHC start-up, thoughts are inevitably turning to the question of what comes next. To this end, CERN Council recently agreed to an increase in CERN’s budget of 240MCHF over four years. We will be investing this in consolidation of upstream accelerators, some of which date back to the 1950s, and preparing upgrades to the LHC. Higher luminosity is the medium-term goal. By around 2016, we plan to install a new injection line, linac plus PS. Among the most challenging components of the LHC today are the inner triplets, the LHC’s final focus magnets. Higher luminosity would place even higher demands on these magnets, and higher luminosity would place more stringent demands on the detectors. The preparatory phase for this luminosity upgrade is also being supported by the European Union through the SLHC project, funded under the seventh framework programme.

The partnerships that have formed to construct the LHC, have shown themselves to be deep, committed and effective. As we move from construction to exploitation and beyond, I look forward to seeing these partnerships grow stronger through sustained commitment to the evolving LHC project. Achieving our new goals requires nothing less.

Robert Aymar