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Flip Tanedo | USLHC | USA

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Dispatches from the Intensity Frontier

Hi everyone! I’m currently at the “Fundamental Physics at the Intensity Frontier” workshop in Rockville, Maryland. There are about 500 high energy physicists here who have gathered to discuss the future of “intensity frontier” physics in the United States. You can find a nice summary on Symmetry Breaking and can follow along on Twitter (#intensityfrontier). For those interested in checking out some of the slides, you can find the agenda here.

In short, the “intensity frontier” is shorthand the exploration of fundamental physics from high luminosity, that is looking for very rare processes that probe the quantum effects of new physics. (I may have to revise this personal definition after attending the workshop!) This should be contrasted with the “energy frontier,” which is what we usually discuss on this blog with the direct production of new physics at the LHC.

I’ll whet your appetite , here’s a teaser image from Nima Arkani-Hamed‘s opening talk in which he plots the “coolness” and “importance” of intensity frontier physics with respect to time:

From Nima Arkani-Hamed's talk at the Intensity Frontier Workshop

Fermilab has now passed the “energy frontier” torch to the LHC and is restructuring towards a particle physics lab dedicated to pushing the forefront of the intensity frontier. The workshop is a very unique and very special opportunity for theoretical and experimental physicists to get together and discuss the future of particle physics in the United States. There are over 500 high energy physicists here for the next three days, which perhaps makes this the center of particle physics this side of CERN. 🙂

As stated by Henry Weerts in his welcome talk, the workshop has four goals:

  1. Produce a single coherent document that explains the science opportunities at the intensity frontier.
  2. Identify the experiments and facilities needed to explore the intensity frontier.
  3. Demonstrate the importance of the intensity frontier to the physics and broader community.
  4. Educate the community.

The last item was particularly directed to the broader community, not just physicists but also to congress and—by extension—to the general public which ultimately supports research into fundamental science. To that end, it’s a busy workshop, but I’ll do my best to provide some updates about what’s going on.

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