Science and Technology Facilities Council
UK scientists contribute to major update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics
An update to the European Strategy for Particle Physics announced recently (19 June 2020) will guide UK priorities in the coming years within the global research landscape. The key scientific priorities are the detailed study of the Higgs boson and the continued exploration of the high-energy frontier, both seen as two crucial and complementary ways to address the leading open questions in particle physics.
Professor Mark Thomson, particle physicist and Executive Chair of STFC recently said:
“The UK particle physics community played a key role in the development of this updated strategy for the future of the field in Europe. Not only does the updated strategy recognise the importance of global co-operation but it also re-emphasises the importance of Europe and, in particular, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the centre of particle physics research. UK scientists will continue to play a central role in delivering new and exciting scientific discoveries from the LHC and beyond.”
This 2020 update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics is a vision for both the near- and the long-term future of the field and the recommendations highlight the scientific impact of particle physics, and its technological, societal, and human capital.
Professor Jon Butterworth from University College London was the UK delegate to the strategy group and recently welcomed the announcement:
"This strategy is exciting, and closely reflects the ambitions of UK physicists and engineers in the field. We have some great opportunities to build on our expertise and work with our friends and colleagues in Europe and around the world to develop some amazing technologies and do some brilliant science."
The document also highlights the need to pursue an “electron-positron Higgs factory” as the highest-priority facility after the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The electron-positron collider would measure the properties of the Higgs boson with extremely high precision. The Higgs boson was discovered at CERN in 2012 by scientists working on the LHC, many from the UK, and is expected to be a powerful tool to look for physics beyond the Standard Model.
Professor Tara Shears, particle physicist from the University of Liverpool works on the LHCb experiment at CERN recently said:
“The strategy outlines a bold, ambitious vision of how we plan to explore and understand the unknown parts of the universe. It's a vision that UK physicists and our colleagues from across Europe and the wider world have forged together. It gives us not just a bright future but many opportunities to build on our existing collaborations, that have already led to sustained scientific and technological progress.”
Another significant recommendation of the Strategy is that Europe, in collaboration with the worldwide community, should undertake a feasibility study for a next-generation hadron collider at the highest achievable energy, in preparation for the longer-term scientific goals of exploring the high-energy frontier. The strategy emphasises the importance of ramping up research and development (R&D) for advanced accelerator and detector technologies, as well as computing infrastructure, as a necessary pre-requisite for all future projects.
Professor Dave Newbold, Director of STFC’s Particle Physics Department (PPD) recently said:
“The new strategy offers the next generation of UK scientists and engineers, working with UK industry, an outstanding opportunity to work on the most challenging global science projects. This is the start of a long-term programme to build on the success of the LHC and make new discoveries.”
The successful completion of the high-luminosity LHC in the coming decade, for which upgrade work is currently in progress at CERN, will remain the focal point of European particle physics whilst work continues to plan for the next generation of particle physics projects.
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