the broad scientific and technology frontier. When such investments are joint ventures with colleagues from abroad, all partners participate directly in both the costs and benefits of the enterprise. However, the capacity to deploy new discoveries across a broad spectrum of economic activities depends on the structure, incentives, and capacity of individual economies to adapt and encourage change. Careful studies in the United States indicate that investments in high-quality science and scientific leadership repay those investments many times over.6

Chapter 2 reviews the most important and exciting scientific questions in particle physics within the context of some of the significant milestones in the development of particle physics between 1950 and the present. Chapter 3 discusses the types of experimental facilities, scientific approaches, and devices that will be needed to explore the questions posed in the preceding chapter. In addition, it describes the evolving international framework within which decisions in particle physics must be made. Chapter 4 highlights the strategic framework within which the committee believes decisions on priorities for the future of particle physics should be made. Chapter 5 focuses on the findings and recommended action items of the committee.

Particle physics is a discovery-based science that probes the deep secrets of nature. What are the characteristics of space and time? How did the universe evolve, and how will it evolve into the future? Is nature understandable, or are there fundamental limits to knowledge? These are questions that capture the imagination of people everywhere and that great nations should strive to answer. Indeed, the nations that lead the way in answering these questions will occupy a special place in human history.

If the United States is to continue to be a leader in particle physics, it must provide appropriate support for scientists and students working at the scientific and technological frontiers in particle physics, leverage resources by pursuing joint efforts with international partners, and—above all—adopt a strategic framework and an associated set of priorities to maximize the impact of the resources that are available. The administration’s proposed budget for FY2007 takes up this challenge and begins to provide the necessary resources for the physical sciences and mathematics to sustain their vitality and the vitality of U.S. science. This report charts a path toward the future for particle physics that will make the field’s tremendous potential a reality.

6

See, for example, NAE, The Impact of Academic Research on Industrial Performance, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2003; Council on Competitiveness, Innovate America: Thriving in a World of Challenge and Change, Washington, D.C.: Council on Competitiveness, 2004.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement