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Scientific Leaders Present Vision for Future of Particle Physics

News Release | For Immediate Release | October 3, 2011

Canada, TRIUMF part of authoring team

(Vancouver, BC) — The field of particle physics is often cited as a leading example of big science, where projects, collaborations, and scientific breakthroughs involve thousands of people and sometimes billions of dollars.

The quest for understanding our universe is becoming decidedly global. In recognition of this fact, a coordinating group of scientific leaders has prepared a vision for the future of particle physics worldwide, emphasizing the shared opportunities and the shared benefits in addition to the joint planning. Through TRIUMF, Canada was involved in preparing this vision.

At a press conference at the Geneva Press Club on Thursday, Oct. 6, from 1 to 2 p.m. CET, the directors of three of the world's major particle physics laboratories, Rolf Heuer of CERN, Pier Oddone of Fermilab in the U.S., and Atsuto Suzuki of Japan's KEK laboratory, will share their perspectives on the unique challenges and prospects for 21st-century particle physics.

In an era of intense competition for increasingly scarce public resources, the challenge of the worldwide particle physics community is to develop a science-driven vision that combines complementary strengths and capabilities to form a single scientific enterprise that spans the globe.

At Thursday's press conference, Heuer, Oddone and Suzuki will present a new document, entitled Beacons of Discovery, outlining the opportunities available to particle physics and the potential rewards of working together globally. Advance copies of the report are available at

Nigel Lockyer, director of TRIUMF, commented, "Particle physics addresses universal questions; and in today's times, it is even more important for the world to be coming together to tackle these opportunities and share in the benefits. Canada has long been a leading partner in global-science partnerships and I expect this role to expand even further."

"Our worldwide physics community has reached a remarkable consensus on how to proceed," Oddone wrote in the report. "Just as a passionate and shared scientific vision brings the detector components together in a beautifully functioning whole, Beacons of Discovery shows how that same passion and vision draw us together in a shared global journey to discover the fundamental nature of matter, energy, space and time."

The press conference will mark the close of a four-day seminar on the future of global particle physics organized by the International Committee for Future Accelerators. From Oct. 3-6 at CERN, directors of the world's major particle physics laboratories, senior scientists and government science officials from several nations will gather to discuss the current situation and to plan their next steps.

"The exceptional cooperation of many nations in the field of particle physics gives us the ability to push the boundaries of discovery," Heuer said. "Through organizations like ICFA, we continue to work together to better understand the universe on the smallest and largest scale."

"Particle physics has always been a globally coordinated field," said Suzuki, "but the results of that work are not always globally recognized. Beacons of Discovery showcases the societal benefits of our research."