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Asia-Europe Physics Summit Provides a Global Perspective

By William Barletta and Luisa Cifarelli

This past July the Physical Society of Japan and the Japan Society of Applied Physics organized the 12th triennial Asia Pacific Physics Conference (APPC12) under the auspices of the Association of Asia Pacific Physical Societies (AAPPS) in Makuhari, Chiba, Japan. APPC12 presented the most recent developments in physics in the Asia-Pacific region across a range of physics disciplines–condensed matter, nuclear and particle physics, neutron and synchrotron radiation science, plasma science, and computational physics. With respect to broadening participation in physics, sessions also included physics education and the topic of women in physics. APPC12 also provided an ideal occasion for the third Asia-Europe Physics Summit (ASEPS3), a collaboration between AAPPS and the European Physical Society (EPS).

Participants in ASEPS3 Round Table 2
Participants in ASEPS3 Round Table 2 (from left to right): Sun-Kee Kim, Shoji Nagamiya, Lyn Evans, James Strait, Guenther Rosner (hidden), Sergio Bertolucci, Satoru Yamashita and Tatsuya Nakada.

The Asia-Europe Physics Summit, which alternates between the two continents, is an extended opportunity for organizational and intellectual leaders in the respective physics societies to discuss research in the context of strengthening collaboration between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The goals of the Summit are threefold: 1) To discuss the scientific priorities and the common infrastructure that could be shared between European and Asian countries in various fields of physics research; 2) To establish a dedicated framework to increase the level of Euro-Asia collaborations in the next two decades; 3) To engage developing countries in a broad range of physics research.

The public program of ASEP3 included a plenary program with speakers from Europe to cover the latest physics results at the LHC, plasmonics that merges photonics with nanotechnology, fiber accelerators, and climate engineering –truly a broad range of topics to excite conference participants. Looking to future developments in physics without borders, ASEPS complemented the plenary lectures with four roundtable discussions that provided an intense exchange of ideas on topics for Asia-Europe cooperation, especially on the timely issue of international strategic planning for large research facilities worldwide.

Thanks to the initiative of EPS past-President Luisa Cifarelli, who has also been involved with APS as a member of both the Executive Committee of the APS Forum on International Physics (FIP) and the APS Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA), this year's Summit included a significant US perspective. In Round Table 1, which was moderated by Tastsuya Nakada, Scientific Secretary for the European Strategy Session of the CERN Council, William Barletta, Past-chair of FIP and the APS Division of Physics of Beams discussed the technologies for both high energy physics and photon science based on his service as convener for the Accelerator Capabilities Study in the APS DPF Snowmass process and facilities prioritization sub-panel for the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee. European perspectives in these areas were given by Massimo Altarelli, Managing Director of European XFEL, and Frédérick Bordry, future CERN Director of Accelerator and Technology; the Asian contributions concentrated on the possibility of a large linear collider project and were given by Jie Gao, Chair of the Asian Linear Collider Steering Committee and Akira Yamamoto, ILC GDE Project Manager, KEK, and Yifang Wang, Director of the Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The strategy for the next generation of large-scale facilities must be driven primarily by an emphasis on the unity of interests of the relevant scientific user communities. Such a view of "big tent science" can make a strong case for cost-effective technical capabilities, that is, a broad scientific return on investment, including power efficiency, growth potential of the infrastructure, and flexibility to address evolving scientific priorities and science cases for upgrades and programmatic priorities. Whether for high-energy and nuclear physics or for photon and neutron science, the shared technologies of future large-scale facilities must deliver extreme temporal and positional precision and stability of particle and photon beams; facilities will generate very large data sets, stressing the importance of both data processing and data storage.

Looking to the issues of policy and cooperation inherent in the next generation of large facilities, Round Table 2 offered perspectives concerning future LHC operations from Sergio Bertolucci, Director for Research and Scientific Computing at CERN; the next steps toward an International Linear Collider from the head of the Linear Collider Collaboration, Lyn Evans; and progress toward the Rare Isotope Science Project in Korea from Sun-Kee Kim, Director of the Institute for Basic Science. Shoji Nagamiya, AAPPS President, described the perspective from J-PARC; Guenther Rosner, FAIR Managing Director for Research and Administration, progress toward the FAIR facility at GSI Darmstadt, and James Strait, representing the Fermilab Directorate, the policy issues in moving toward a robust design of the LBNE facility.

Large-scale facilities provide the opportunity and the necessity to demonstrate the excitement of forefront science, as well as its economic and societal value to both decision-makers and to the general public. Round Table 4 examined the responsibility of large facilities to undertake education and outreach programs and the impact these activities have had in different circumstances and locations around the world. Neil Calder of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (past-head of Communication at CERN, SLAC and ITER) emphasized the ways in which large facilities can and must build trust with the public both by sharing the excitement of the scientific and technological enterprise and by being transparent with respect to issues of facility safety and prudent operation. Education programs based on the research undertaken at large facilities can help to inspire young people to study science and pursue a research career; of particular note is the EPS Young Minds (EPSYM) project which was described by its new leader Antigone Marino of the University of Naples Federico II. This program could be considered for emulation in the US by the APS.

Representing the US Particle Accelerator School and the Joint US-CERN-KEK- Russia Accelerator School, William Barletta explained that whether as locations for scientific mega-experiments or as giant tents over myriad small science experiments, the success of large scientific facilities depends on a confluence of four principal factors: 1) a continual influx of highly trained scientists and technologists to build and operate devices with unprecedented levels of performance; 2) a technically savvy user community, which can provide the science pull for new capability and capacity and can then deliver transformative scientific results; 3) well trained scientific executives who can inspire and lead highly creative staff and manage large technological risks; and 4) an engaged public which will be excited by and supportive of the science enterprise. In the face of a widespread lack of university training programs in the technology of accelerator-based science facilities, laboratories with a broad national and international charter have formed alliances with major research universities to provide the core education in science, technology and management skills needed for such laboratories to flourish and to provide rich programs of scientific research of broad benefit to society.

Round Table 3 described the opportunity for a worldwide collaboration of physics societies for the year 2015 as an International Year of Light under the auspices of UNESCO and the United Nations. The Year of Light would highlight how light technologies have revolutionized society through medicine and communications, entertainment and culture, and how they are major economic drivers and provide solutions to global challenges in energy and education both in industrialized and developing countries.

Though ASEPS3 was not explicitly a worldwide physics summit, it did open the door for a very broad engagement by physics societies to build global collaboration, to increase the scientific return on societal investment and to spread the benefits of forefront physics research to developing countries. These goals are appropriate for programs of strong multi-lateral cooperation of physics societies that exemplify our ideal of open science without secrecy and without borders.

Luisa Cifarelli of the University of Bologna, Italy, is Past-president of the European Physical Society, the Italian Physical Society, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the APS Forum on International Physics (FIP) and the APS Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA).William Barletta is Director of the US Particle Accelerator School, Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is Past-Chair of the APS Forum on International Physics (FIP) and also serves on the APS Committee on International Scientific Affairs (CISA).


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Editor: Alan Chodos
Staff Science Writer: Michael Lucibella