Report to Set Particle Physics Priorities
By Michael Lucibella
Now nearing completion, the upcoming Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) report will recommend which experiments to do and what research to fund at the Department of Energy over the next decade.
“There is extreme interest in what’s going to happen. And whatever happens is going to have a big impact on what [DOE is] going to do,” said Patricia Dehmer, the deputy director for science programs at the DOE’s Office of Science, speaking at March’s High Energy Physics Advisory Panel meeting.
The panel will release its proposed roadmap on May 22. It builds on the APS-sponsored Snowmass high-energy physics planning meetings held over the summer in Minneapolis.
The report comes at a critical time for the field. Budgets since the last P5 report ten years ago have been smaller than expected, and the president’s 2015 federal budget request released in early March included a 6.6% cut to high energy physics.
“There is still time to influence the 2015 budget that is on the Hill,” Dehmer said. “Things tend to be budgeted when they’re compelling, the science will be impactful…and there’s complete alignment from the community on up through the administration.”
Administrators from DOE urged the physics community to back whatever final form the report takes.
“The office expects the community to fully support the result of the P5 and Snowmass deliberations,” said James Siegrist, associate director of the DOE Office of Science. “Bickering scientists get nothing.”
Siegrist also urged researchers to temper some of their expectations because his office is expecting only modest funding growth in the near future.
“The P5 budget is extremely tight, so it’s very likely that your favorite project did not get the priority you hoped,” Siegrist said. “You must suppress any feeling of entitlement that the budget scenarios are too austere for a field as glorious as high energy physics.… The global high energy physics program is at stake, not just your research or feelings.”
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Staff Science Writer: Michael Lucibella
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