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the lifetime of the proton.”1 The report recommends “that DOE and NSF work together to plan for and to fund a new generation of experiments to achieve these goals. We further recommend that an underground laboratory with sufficient infrastructure and depth be built to house and operate the needed experiments.”2
By their nature, IceCube and a deep underground laboratory are interdisciplinary and have strong overlaps with existing fields. The recent DOE/NSF long-range plan for nuclear physics states, “We strongly recommend immediate construction of the world’s deepest underground science laboratory.”3 It gives a new deep underground laboratory second highest priority for future projects. The neutrino science of IceCube has less overlap with the scientific goals of nuclear physics and is therefore not included in that report.
The DOE/NSF long-range plan for particle physics has also endorsed both initiatives, although it ranks them below the highest scientific priority—participation in the worldwide efforts to build a linear collider. Regarding the scientific goals of IceCube, the long-range plan says that it is an “example of a mutually beneficial cross-disciplinary effort between astrophysics and particle physics,”4 and that experiments in a deep underground laboratory “will make important contributions to particle physics for at least the next twenty years, and should be supported by the high energy physics community.”5
The committee’s assessments of the scientific opportunities presented by IceCube and a new deep underground laboratory are consistent with these reports. The committee finds that the scientific opportunities for both in astrophysics, nuclear physics, particle physics, and their intersections make for impressive and exciting research programs. The committee believes that both are well worth pursuing.
Experiments that detect very high energy particles from space can explore the physics of extreme conditions in the universe. For example, gamma-ray bursts, among the most powerful explosions since the big bang, may be sources of ultra-
National Research Council, Connecting Quarks with the Cosmos: Eleven Science Questions for the New Century, Washington, D.C., National Academies Press, 2003, p. 7.
DOE/NSF Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, Opportunities in Nuclear Science, 2002, p. 2.
DOE/NSF High-Energy Physics Advisory Panel, Subpanel Report on Long Range Planning for U.S. High-Energy Physics, 2002, p. 80.