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A Plan for the Next Decade: Particle Physicists Chart the Course

Scientists in the U.S. approved a blueprint on Friday for the future of particle physics, aiming to restore American dominance in high energy particle physics in the next two decades. The report, titled “Exploring the Quantum Universe: Pathways to Innovation and Discovery in Particle Physics,” outlined a vision for the next decade and highlighted a need to invest in next-generation experiments and facilities. The strategy includes laying the groundwork for a revolutionary particle collider and emphasized prioritizing national projects over the next decade.

The report was prepared by the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) at the request of the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. The report addresses both a baseline budget scenario with a 3% increase in annual funds and a grimmer scenario with only a 2% increase, with the possibility of an effective cut in support.

The strategy rewards ambitious projects, recommending investing in a revolutionary particle collider using tiny, point-like muons, and supporting a system of telescopes to study the cosmic microwave background. The report also emphasized continued support for projects already in progress, addressing the repercussions of potential budget cuts and the need to maintain leadership in the field of particle physics.

The committee led by Dr. Hitoshi Murayama of the University of California, Berkeley said that the report provides “a hopeful vision for the future” while preparing to overcome potentially challenging budget scenarios right now. The plan also underscores the importance of early-career scientists, who will play a crucial role in these projects over the coming decades.

These ambitious plans were described as “a bold plan” and “a remarkable display of curiosity” that brought together thousands of researchers by physicists commenting. Overall, experts and leaders in the field praised the report’s strategic groundwork to ensure American pre-eminence in particle physics, laying the foundation for a thriving future in the field.

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