J-PARC coming to life

J-PARC, Japan’s new Proton Accelerator Research Complex, is being inaugurated on 6 July.

An official inauguration is always a very special day in the life of any new facility, and J-PARC is no exception. It has been fascinating to watch J-PARC coming to life over recent months, with neutron and muon beams reaching the material and life sciences facility last year, followed by proton beams in the hadron experimental hall early this year, and most recently the first neutrinos to Super-Kamiokande.

J-PARC is a superb example not only of collaboration between labs and agencies, run as it is as a joint project between KEK and JAEA, but also of interdisciplinarity. Bringing life sciences, material sciences, nuclear and particle physics together on the same campus makes J-PARC unique and visionary. By innovating in the production of high-intensity secondary beams, while at the same time providing a new lease of life to existing facilities, J-PARC is also a model of forward thinking and an inspiration to us all.

Here at CERN, we have recently held a workshop to identify new opportunities in our future physics landscape. A prominent feature of this landscape may be a new proton synchrotron providing beams for the LHC and supporting its own programme of research. The similarity of this facility to the J-PARC main ring suggests a great potential for synergy between our labs in the future, since it is important that any research done in Europe complements that done at J-PARC, without duplication. That, however, is for the future. For today, my message is simple: congratulations on the inauguration, keep up the good work, and I look forward to seeing many years of world class science coming from J-PARC.

Rolf Heuer

Ishino ue nimo 3 nen

Looking back, it is 24 years since I started to think about a prototype plan for J-PARC. The prototype actually materialized 12 years ago as the JHF project at KEK. Since then, we have been supported and encouraged by the ministers and officials of the funding agency, domestic and foreign researchers, the staff and management of KEK and JAEA, people in industries, the prefectural and local governments, and countless others who have warmly supported this endeavour. I am truly grateful. It is miraculous that the construction has been completed almost on schedule. I would like to thank all those who participated in the construction of this accelerator complex.

There is an old Japanese saying "ishino ue nimo 3 nen", which literally translates to "three years on a rock" - meaning if you are determined to stick to one thing and keep at it for as long as three years, you will accomplish at least one thing. But this project has been four and a half years in planning even after the initiation of the project at KEK and after that we spent eight years on construction. In the beginning, I worried myself that, when this research complex was completed, the world trends might point in some other directions, so that the facilities might have become obsolete by then. However, in some sense J-PARC has created a new trend among facilities of this type, as the world competes to construct a still newer generation of neutron sources, and as we witness the start of novel accelerator-based neutrino experiments. I feel relieved and honoured.

In addition to promoting cutting-edge research in the fields of particle and nuclear physics, science of material structures, and life sciences, we would like to make efforts to promote user-friendly experimental facilities by improving accessibility for international researchers, though not much has progressed so far. We also think it very important to promote research in the field of applied sciences in collaboration with industry, and to establish a foundation for stronger ties with industry and government bodies.

Shoji Nagamiya
Director of the J-PARC Center