the largest of them. At the smaller end of the scale, nimbleness is essential if the United States is to remain competitive and innovative on the rapidly expanding international nuclear physics scene.
Recommendation: The sponsoring agencies should develop streamlined and flexible procedures that are tailored for initiating and managing smaller-scale nuclear science projects.
Prospects for an Electron-Ion Collider
Accelerators remain one of the key tools of nuclear physics, other fields of basic and applied research, and societal applications such as medicine. Modifying existing accelerators to incorporate new capabilities can be an effective way to advance the frontiers of the science. Of course it is the importance of the physics and of the potential discoveries enabled by the new capability that must justify the new investment. There is an initiative developing aimed at a new accelerator capability in the United States. Fortunately, the U.S. nuclear physics community has the mechanisms in place to properly evaluate this initiative. Currently there are suggestions that upgrades to either RHIC or CEBAF would enable the new capability.
Finding: An upgrade to an existing accelerator facility that enables the colliding of nuclei and electrons at forefront energies would be unique for studying new aspects of quantum chromodynamics. In particular, such an upgrade would yield new information on the role of gluons in protons and nuclei. An electron-ion collider is currently under scrutiny as a possible future facility.
Recommendation: Investment in accelerator and detector research and development for an electron-ion collider should continue. The science opportunities and the requirements for such a facility should be carefully evaluated in the next Nuclear Science Long-Range Plan.
Nuclear physics is a discovery-driven enterprise motivated by the desire to understand the fundamental mechanisms that account for the behavior of matter. Nevertheless, for its first hundred years, the new knowledge of the nuclear world has also directly benefited society through many innovative applications. As we move into the second century of nuclear physics the recommendations above will ensure a thriving and healthy field that continues to benefit society from new applications. Recently the stewardship of the nation’s isotope program has been placed in the DOE Office of Nuclear Physics. This reorganization is appropriate and provides a fresh opportunity for the nuclear physics community to serve society by