String theorists are not the only ones with panels. Here at the Snowmass workshop on the International Linear Collider (ILC), we had an important panel discussion at the end of the day yesterday. The topic was a hot one: What is the relationship of the LHC in triggering construction of the ILC. At present, no other topic sparks such passionate debate within the Linear Collider community. Viewpoints range from major discoveries at the LHC are required to the LHC is irrelevant. The passion stems from the fact that this is a political issue, not a scientific one. Scientifically, the Linear Collider community has shown that the ILC is an important tool, no matter what the LHC finds.
The panel members included Sven Heinemeyer (CERN), Chris Damerell (Rutherford Lab), Michael Peskin (SLAC), and Joe Lykken (Fermilab). Jon Bagger (Johns Hopkins) introduced the debate and Hitoshi Yamamoto (Tohoku) moderated the questions from the audience.
Despite the hot button topic, the discussion was calm and reasoned. The conclusion is obvious and was best expressed by Barry Barish who is head of the Global Design Effort for the ILC. Namely, it’s too early to make this decision! Right now, the ILC community needs to focus on the R&D for the machine and on developing the ILC baseline design. This effort is going to take a few years (roughly 3) and is currently underfunded. Our most pressing concern is to obtain the funding for this design effort. We can’t build the machine without it! Once the baseline design is completed and we are ready to build the ILC, then, and only then, does it make sense to see where we stand relative to the LHC (as well as to the scientific policies of the next administration).
In the meantime, those of us not working on the ILC design should spread the word about the Linear Collider. We have a compelling scientific case and we need to tell it to the broad scientific community, the policy makers, and to the public. You can expect to see many such posts here at CosmicVariance!