Highlights from e-EPS: Cosmic Day / FEL for SuperB / Assessment Assessed

e-EPS News is a monthly addition to the CERN Bulletin line-up, showcasing articles from e-EPS – the European Physical Society newsletter – as part of a collaboration between the two publications.


International Cosmic Day

The first International Cosmic Day will be held on 26 September this year. During this event, students and teachers worldwide will come together in research institutions, universities and classrooms to learn about cosmic particle research.

The event will celebrate the centenary of Victor Franz Hess’ discovery of cosmic rays – particles which originate in outer space and spread through the whole universe, often at extremely high energies.

On the day, students will tackle such questions as: what are cosmic particles? … where do they come from? … and how can they be measured? Participants will be encouraged to undertake their own cosmic particle experiments: analysing and evaluating the data they record and presenting their findings, all in the style of a real-life research collaboration.

This event is being organised by DESYNetwork Particle World, and Fermilab’s QuarkNet project. For more information, please visit the International Cosmic Day website.


SuperB accelerator to gain Free Electron Laser

The SuperB accelerator will soon expand its scientific offerings through a multidisciplinary infrastructure: the Free Electron Laser (FEL). This will add to the accelerator apparatus – based at Cabibbolab, Italy – which will be completed in the next five years.

This addition –which will have no adverse effect on the overall performance of SuperB, or the Linac which delivers electrons to it – will serve not only SuperB’s fundamental physics goals, but those of other disciplines such as biological, material science, medical and nanotechnological research.

“This idea is based on the desire to expand Cabibbolab’s scientific offerings,” says Roberto Petronzio, Cabibbolab Director. “The SuperB Linac is designed to inject electrons in the accelerator ring at an energy of 6.7 GeV and it is perfectly compatible with a high-performance FEL, able to produce monochromatic radiation in the region of hard X-rays, thus crossing the needs of biology and nanotechnology studies.”

For more information, please visit the Cabibbolab website.


Assessing assessment procedures in physics

The European Physical Society (EPS) - in its role to promote physics and physicists - is concerned about the increasing use of bibliometric indices in evaluation procedures for individuals, groups and their scientific projects.

In recent years, various studies on the potential adverse consequences of a purely numerical assessment on the quality of funded scientific research have been conducted in Europe. Various institutions have published best practices regarding the review process of scientists and projects.

In this on-going debate, the EPS insists on the importance of peer review for all evaluation procedures. It takes a position against purely numerical assessments. Only the cautious application of bibliometric indices during a peer-review procedure can guarantee non-biased results.

The statement is available on the EPS website.

by Ian Randall, Bénédicte Huchet and EPS