Elementary-Particle Physics in Today's Society
Elementary-particle physics research, while being focused on the ultimate constituents of nature and their interactions and the technical aspects of their study, is embedded within society as a whole and has a sociological structure of its own. This chapter addresses several aspects of this side of elementary-particle physics. It includes discussions of how the field evolved, the role of universities and national laboratories, the effect of the demise of the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC), demographics and career advancement paths, governance, education, and public outreach.
Two other recently completed studies have addressed in some depth a variety of these issues: "Particle Physics-Perspectives and Opportunities" a report of the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society, and the report of the High-Energy Physics Advisory Panel's subpanel on "Vision for the Future of High-Energy Physics." Both serve as source material for parts of this chapter.
Recently, a comprehensive history of instrumentation, developments, and trends in the practice of research in particle physics has been published: Image and Logic (University of Chicago Press) by Peter Galison.
Particle Physics Until World War II (the First 50 Years)
The search for the most fundamental building blocks of matter has been an important intellectual pursuit for most civilizations throughout history. J.J.
Thomson's discovery of the electron 100 years ago, using a simple particle accelerator (a cathode-ray tube), launched modern elementary-particle physics.
Until World War II, research in particle physics was usually carried out at universities, funded by university grants or by gifts and grants from corporations and wealthy individuals. Many early developments in the field originated in Europe. The invention of the cyclotron accelerator by E.O. Lawrence and M.S. Livingston in 1931 at Berkeley signaled the beginning of major U.S. participation in nuclear and particle physics. In the years leading up to the war, the United States. gradually achieved world leadership in these areas of physics, which were energized by the influx of physicists fleeing Europe and by the Manhattan Project, the nationally critical race with Germany to build the first bomb using nuclear fission.
It was during these years that the U.S. physics community began several major research and development programs funded by the federal government. The era of large science projects was born at laboratories such as Los Alamos and Oak Ridge, as well as at large nonnuclear facilities such as the MIT Radiation Laboratory. Projects were no longer accomplished by one or two senior collaborators assisted by graduate students and skilled technicians. Rather, a larger group of senior and junior physicists, together with professional engineers, developed and used large research facilities.
Particle Physics After World War II (the Second 50 Years)
Based on the success of controlling and using nuclear fission, a series of government agencies continued the wartime pattern of federal funding at U.S. universities. These have included the Office of Naval Research, the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Energy Research and Development Administration, and the Department of Energy (DOE). With the discovery of new particles such as pions and kaons in the late 1940s and the invention of new, more powerful accelerators, a dozen or so major universities built accelerators with energies above 100 MeV (1 MeV = 106 electron volts) to study new phenomena. The physicists who executed these projects applied the methodology of wartime laboratories: The machines were large, sophisticated engineering undertakings, compared to the tabletop experimental equipment of prewar research. During the 1950s, as the complexities of particle interactions and the rich spectra of meson and nucleon states began to unfold, elementary-particle physics diverged from nuclear physics and became a distinct field.
The need for higher particle beam energies required larger accelerators and correspondingly larger detectors and experimental facilities. Accompanying this increased size and complexity was an increase in the costs of construction and operation, eventually to an extent that outstripped the resources of a single university. In response, and again modeled on the wartime experience, large facili-
ties were concentrated at federally funded laboratories. The national laboratories today are operated either by a single university or by a university consortium and support large user communities of university physicists. The efficiency of this form of cooperation between federally funded laboratories and the research community in universities played an important role in making the United States the undisputed world leader in particle physics through most of the past 50 years.
Four elementary-particle physics accelerator laboratories are operating in the United States today: Brookhaven National Laboratory, which has been in operation since 1947; and Fermilab, SLAC, and the Wilson Laboratory at Cornell University, which were all constructed over the 15-year period between 1957 and 1972. These facilities have been continually upgraded since their construction in support of the needs of the EPP research community. In 1983, a major facility authorized and under construction at Brookhaven called the Colliding Beam Accelerator (CBA) was terminated at the recommendation of the U.S. EPP community. Although the CBA would have added a new research tool, this recommendation followed the sense that the U.S. program could not do everything the high-energy physics community might have wanted it to do and that completing the CBA would have interfered with the Superconducting Super Collider. The existing facilities are currently engaged in upgrades that continue to afford scientists, not only from U.S. universities but also from around the world, the opportunity to do research at preeminent facilities. A funding history of EPP over the past 28 years is shown in Figure 10.1. The historic ebb and flow of funds between construction and operations of new accelerators is evident in this chart. Not included in this chart is the approximately $2 billion of expenditures on SSC construction from 1988 to 1993.
In Europe, particle physicists joined together in the middle 1950s to form the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. The organizational structure and administration of this pan-European laboratory was closely modeled after the U.S. laboratories. Over the past 40 years, CERN has established itself in friendly competition with U.S. laboratories as a major center for particle physics research and as a model for international organization. CERN's latest project, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will be the highest-energy accelerator in the world when completed. Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia have also pursued active programs in experimental EPP over the last three decades.
Impact of the Termination of the Superconducting Super Collider
The Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) was to be the culmination of the rapid developments in particle physics research that occurred during the second half of the twentieth century. With 20 times the energy of the Fermilab Tevatron, a circumference of 53 miles, and a cost of about $10 billion, the SSC represented one of the largest scientific undertakings in the history of mankind. This premier
facility was designed to answer many of the fundamental questions described in this report and to search for unpredicted new phenomena. The SSC was envisioned by the U.S. elementary-particle physics community as the cornerstone of continued U.S. world leadership in particle physics into the twenty-first century. To many, both inside and outside this community, it represented a vital investment in our nation's ability to maintain its preeminence in basic research and to stimulate the development of new technologies in many areas that would contribute to the health of the U.S. economy. The demise of the SSC has had significant ramifications for elementary-particle physics in the United States and abroad.
Termination of the SSC in 1993 had a significant impact on the U.S. high-energy physics program, and this action still threatens U.S. leadership in the field. Its effect on the future vision of the U.S. program is still being sorted out, and the perception among some countries of the United States as an unreliable partner in international scientific endeavors was created. In addition, the high
profile of the project, followed by abandonment of a significant investment, contributed to a view by a segment of the public of reduced U.S. commitment to basic research. The program at the existing laboratories and universities was further stressed by an accompanying erosion of financial support for operations, a stress partially ameliorated by significant upgrade projects that will keep the U.S. program in a leadership position through the middle of the next decade. However, when the LHC becomes operational in about 2005, the energy frontier will move to Europe. At present, there is no definitive plan to build a new forefront facility in this country.
The U.S. elementary-particle physics community has been redefining its future in the wake of the SSC cancellation and learning the lessons inherent in its demise. This report is part of that process. The demise of the SSC has been ascribed to many sources by many people. In any event it is clear that the ground rules governing the support of forefront basic research have changed. Among the lessons that might be drawn from the SSC experience are that a multibillion-dollar forefront facility can be undertaken only as a truly international project; that speaking clearly, frequently, and at the right level to the public on the research goals and opportunities in such projects is the duty of the physics community; and that multiyear funding and full authorization of projects are important to ensure stability. It is also clear that in the existing budgetary climate, every effort must be made to achieve significant cost reduction in base accelerator technologies. What has not changed, however, is the desire of the U.S. EPP community to pursue forefront research at the energy frontier, accompanied by the belief that this pursuit is necessary to retain a leadership position for the U.S. elementary-particle physics program. Strong and significant participation in the LHC program, accompanied by an ongoing, forward-looking, accelerator development program, are manifestations of these attitudes.
Elementary-particle physics research is conducted as a partnership of universities, national laboratories, and governmental funding agencies. A recent survey of the field carried out by the Particle Data Group at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory identifies 3,492 elementary-particle physicists (including graduate students) in the United States, distributed among 140 universities and 15 laboratories or institutes. The majority of researchers are based at universities. Universities also retain primary responsibility for the education of young people entering the field. National laboratories provide facilities and support for research beyond the resources of individual universities. Government funding agencies support this enterprise based on mandates given them by the public as represented by their elected officials.
University faculty members normally divide their time between teaching (i.e., helping students understand the accumulated knowledge in a field) and research (adding to the accumulation of knowledge). These activities are not disjoint but blend together in many important ways. Clearly the main function of graduate education in science is the training of future scientists, some of whom will continue to pursue basic science and increase our knowledge and understanding of nature. Others will choose to apply their scientific background and training to complementary pursuits.
Although graduate students are intimately involved in their university research programs, undergraduates also benefit from the research activities of their professors. It is typical for a university professor to have the assistance of an undergraduate working in his or her laboratory, contributing to scientific research, and getting trained in scientific techniques. Although most experimental particle physics occurs at sites remote from the university campus, undergraduate students can still participate. Many of the subdetectors of large experiments are researched, designed, built, or tested at university laboratories before being transported to the accelerator laboratory at which the experiment is to be run. Modern computer networks make it possible to analyze data that may be physically housed several thousand miles away. During the summer break, it is common for many undergraduate students to work at accelerator laboratories. All U.S. university groups pursuing elementary-particle physics research receive their funding either from DOE or NSF.
The four U.S. high-energy accelerator laboratories provide large accelerator and detector facilities to users from both U.S. and foreign universities. They are operated for the federal government by universities or associations of universities: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL) by the University Research Association (URA); the Laboratory of Nuclear Studies by Cornell University; SLAC by Stanford University; and Brookhaven National Laboratory by Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA). Astronomers and nuclear physicists have also emulated this structure by forming the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), which now operates several astronomical observatories as well as the Space Telescope Science Institute at the Johns Hopkins University, and by forming the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) to operate the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (formerly known as CEBAF).
DOE supports research activities at Brookhaven, Fermilab, and SLAC, whereas NSF supports the Cornell laboratory. University groups, whether funded by DOE or NSF, have free access to any of the laboratories. The work of these
laboratories is guided and reviewed in a number of ways by the particle physics community and by funding agencies. Each laboratory has a visiting committee that reports to the university body that operates the laboratory. Funding agencies make periodic reviews of the physics research and technology development work of the laboratories.
At Brookhaven, Fermilab, and SLAC, external university users have formed user organizations. These work with laboratory administration on the problems of visiting physicists and graduate students, as well as other issues relevant to the research environment and capabilities of the laboratories.
Until about 20 years ago, elementary-particle physics experiments were pursued by relatively small collaborations. Experiments were usually designed to answer a specific question or a narrow range of questions. For example, an experiment might be proposed to measure a specific property of a particular type of particle. Laboratory beams would be prepared to produce this type of particle, and an experimental apparatus would be constructed to select and identify it and to measure the property in question. Data would be taken and analyzed, and the laboratory beams and the experimental apparatus would be reconfigured and modified for another experiment, which would often pursue different goals. This type of experiment was typically done by a single research group or by a few research groups collaborating, and many such experiments were run simultaneously.
Although there are still a few experiments of this type today, modern experimental particle physics is dominated by large collaborations, sometimes involving as many as 100 research groups and 500 or more physicists and students. Essentially every collaboration has significant membership from abroad. This situation reflects the emergence of colliding-beam experiments over the past two decades. As a result, detectors have become much larger and more complex, and the number of physicists needed to construct them has increased markedly. Typically, a research group, or collaboration of a small number of groups, constructs and maintains a specific piece of the detector. The modern colliding-beam detector serves in many ways the role of the traditional laboratory: It provides the data that individual research groups use to make specific measurements.
This analogy becomes particularly clear in the case of hadronic colliding beams, for example, the collisions of protons and antiprotons at Fermilab. The total number of interactions is very large, although the number of interesting events for a particular measurement may be quite limited. The experiments are limited in the number of interactions that can be recorded for analysis. Each experiment thus must select a mixture of events that are of particular interest. Typically, each experiment will have a committee to decide on what selection of triggers to use. Members of an individual research group might propose a par-
ticular trigger that would allow them to obtain a class of events necessary for the measurement they wish to make. They would then be allotted an appropriate fraction of the total data rate for their trigger.
This type of laboratory serving the needs of many research groups is common in other branches of science. For example, a large telescope will normally have a committee that allots viewing time to individual research groups to make particular observations in which they are interested. One significant difference between, for example, astronomers sharing a large telescope and particle physicists sharing a large colliding-beam detector is that it is the custom for all of the members of a particle physics collaboration to review the final physics results and sign the papers, even though the data analysis has usually been done by a smaller group of physicists. This practice recognizes the vital contribution of all the physicists who built and operated the experiment.
The Advisory System
The Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation hold the primary responsibility for directing an effective and well-targeted research program in EPP in the United States. Broadly speaking, these agencies have kept an excellent program in operation. For advice, they rely on several sources, the primary one of which is the High-Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP). HEPAP was formed in 1967 as a standing committee to advise the administration on the issues it confronts in making decisions in particle physics. Its 15 members, named for 3-year terms, represent a broad cross section of university and laboratory physicists, both theoretical and experimental. The members are named by the Secretary of Energy, with the advice of the DOE director of the Office of High-Energy Physics. HEPAP meets about five times a year. Its agenda is set by DOE and usually focuses on immediate questions faced by the department in particle physics, such as budget issues, program reviews, and international collaboration. HEPAP also appoints subpanels to study special questions on broad areas of planning. Its most important decisions relate to the overall direction of the field through its endorsement or rejection of proposals for construction of new facilities. The NSF Program Director for Elementary Particle Physics also regularly attends HEPAP meetings, and the NSF program is included within the purview of this panel. The successful pattern of HEPAP has now been adopted by nuclear physicists with the formation of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC).
The accelerator laboratories themselves have set up program advisory committees that review proposals for experiments and advise the laboratory director on the quality and feasibility of these proposals. The program committees have members from both the experimental and the theoretical side of the particle physics community with some members from abroad. Recently, the American Physical Society's (APS) Division of Particles and Fields (DPF), which includes
most elementary-particle physicists in the United States, has become more active in policy and planning issues. The DPF, most recently in collaboration with the APS Division of Physics of Beams, organized a series of 3-week summer workshops in Snowmass, Colorado, on current questions of particle accelerators, detectors, and physics. These workshops provide an opportunity for the development of consensus within the EPP community and can often be used as a basis for long-range planning purposes.
Guidelines of the International Committee on Future Accelerators (ICFA) stipulate that large accelerator laboratories should be open to all qualified scientists, independent of citizenship. However, the selection of experiments and the priority accorded to them are the responsibility of the laboratory operating the regional facility. At the moment, for evaluating proposals at the international level, there is no advisory structure in place to make recommendations on the scientific merit, technical feasibility, or even the most appropriate accelerator laboratory for the execution of experimental proposals.
Particle physics is a truly international undertaking. As in all basic science, research results are openly published and shared with other researchers around the world. Scientists from around the globe come to do research at our preeminent laboratories, and U.S. scientists have increasingly gone abroad to do research, most notably to CERN. Many of an entire generation of Japanese and European leaders of the field received at least a part of their training in the United States.
In the early days, international collaboration involved sharing primary data: Emulsions or bubble chamber films, exposed at U.S. accelerators, were shipped to scientists abroad for analysis. In the 1960s, as experiments continued to grow in size and complexity, their performance required collaboration by groups from many institutions. These collaborations frequently cut across national lines, the criterion for collaboration being the common interest in a problem rather than the common color of passports. As Europe, the Soviet Union, Canada, Japan, and China built their own accelerator laboratories, U.S. groups began to take advantage of unique opportunities abroad.
International collaborations were initiated, formed, and executed almost entirely by scientists working together to achieve a common goal. Sometimes they operated within a framework of bilateral national agreements, but on the whole, there were few government-level directives. Without a doubt, they have been remarkably successful. The sharing of talents and resources led to scientific productivity and improved cultural understanding. Scientists from nations that were enemies in World War II worked together immediately after the war. Even at the peak of the Cold War, productive experimental collaborations between
scientists from the United States and the Soviet Union took place in both countries.
Future efforts to advance the high-energy frontier will almost certainly be pursued within a framework of multinational or international collaboration. Such collaborations will be necessary to advance both the hadron and the lepton frontiers. For the United States to be successful in this arena, new ground has to be broken in two areas: Collaboration must move beyond the realm of detector construction, data taking, and analysis, to that of design and construction of the accelerator facilities themselves. Because of the required scale of these efforts, an active role will have to be played by U.S. government agencies in negotiating the terms of participation.
An important step in this direction is being taken with negotiations for U.S. participation in CERN's LHC accelerator and detector construction. Participation in LHC is strongly supported by the U.S. particle physics community, recommended by HEPAP, and deemed economically feasible by the DOE HEP program on the basis of a constant-funding scenario over the period 1996-2004. A negotiating team from several government agencies including DOE, NSF, and the State Department has completed negotiations with CERN, and a framework for U.S. participation has been worked out. Participation is planned in the form of subsystem contributions, both to the accelerator (by DOE alone) and to the ATLAS and CMS detectors (by DOE and NSF), for which the United States would take full responsibility. The ability to develop such international agreements and then adhere to them over the multiyear construction period depends on congressional support and is critical for the success of any present or future collaborative effort.
During the past decade, major changes in the structure and practices of the research program in elementary-particle physics have occurred. The rapid pace of these changes poses new challenges to the community as it strives to realize the full potential of the research effort with the most effective and efficient organization. This section reviews some of these changes briefly, along with the administrative and cultural problems that they pose. Many of these issues were studied by HEPAP's subpanel on Vision for the Future of High-Energy Physics chaired by Professor Sidney D. Drell (the Drell panel)—the most recent HEPAP subpanel to review the field as a whole. A few passages of the commentary from this panel's report are quoted below. In addition, a recent survey conducted by Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory under the auspices of DOE, NSF, and the APS Division of Particles and Fields has developed a large amount of demographic information relating to trends in EPP. This information is accessible on the Internet at pdg.lbl.gov./doe_nsf/census.html.
Structural Changes in the Research Program
One of the most dramatic changes occurring over the past quarter of a century is the decrease in the number of high-energy physics laboratories and major experiments. Currently 55% of the U.S. high-energy physics budget is concentrated in two major laboratories, Fermilab and SLAC, which house all but one of the major domestic experiments in the U.S. program. This situation has been accompanied by a significant reduction in the number of experimental ''spigots" at each laboratory over this period.
The evolution to larger experiments and fewer laboratories is a proper response to the demands of the science. These are the instruments needed to investigate the most important questions in particle physics, and the collaborations are of the size required to build and operate these instruments. However, it may be that the administrative structures inherited from a previous era are no longer optimal.
The Role of Universities
This change has had an impact on universities in that the engineering and technical capabilities of the field have become more centralized, away from university campuses. Management and construction of large facilities are more efficiently accomplished from the laboratory base. This situation has been accompanied by a real decrease in funding for the university component of the program. As shown in Figure 10.1, university funding has decreased by about 20% as measured in inflation-adjusted dollars over the decade of the 1990s. Many university groups are struggling to understand how to fulfill their traditional responsibilities in the newly evolved environment.
A significant part of the vitality and diversity of the field has come from faculty members' freedom to pursue the science that interests them without the constraint of working at a predetermined site. However, because of the concentration of resources on a relatively few large projects, this freedom has been somewhat reduced in recent years.
There is an additional concern about graduate education. The locus of graduate education, the training ground for the future generation of high-energy physicists, is at the universities that combine education and research. The difficulties of university groups in carrying out independent and viable research has severe impacts on the quality of graduate education, and there are concerns about the training of the next generation of scientists.
There is concern in the community that the present administrative structure does not fully reflect the concerns or address the problems of the university community. To quote the Drell panel report (p. 84):
The university program does not have the same level of advocacy within the system as the national laboratories. National laboratories are represented by
strong directors who effectively advance the interests of their laboratories with-in the Department of Energy and are also capable of advancing their causes within the political arena. University groups, on the other hand, have no comparably visible advocate to represent their interest to the Department of Energy and to the National Science Foundation when they diverge from the interests of the national laboratories.
In a welcome response to these concerns, DOE has added three members to HEPAP who are explicitly charged with representing the views of university based physicists working at accelerator facilities in the United States, working at accelerator facilities abroad, and conducting non-accelerator-based research in elementary-particle physics. In addition, the most recently convened HEPAP subpanel has been charged with, among other things, examining and making recommendations concerning the health and strength of the university component of the EPP program. Its report is expected in February 1998.
As discussed above, new large-scale experimental facilities will necessarily be international efforts. A likely scenario in the coming decades is one where a major portion of the high-energy physics research program will be concentrated at an international facility in which the United States is a major partner. This facility might or might not be located in the United States. More thought must be given to how such an international facility might be organized and administered and what impact participation in a large-scale international facility would have on the balance of the U.S. program. If the United States is to participate fully in an international facility in the future, new administrative frameworks will be necessary. It is important that these be carefully thought through as early as possible.
It is also true that elementary-particle physics projects now represent large and costly multiyear commitments. In recent history, such projects have been funded through the annual congressional appropriations process, without prior congressional authorization. This situation has hampered the efficient completion of some projects and, if it were to persist, would complicate U.S. participation in large-scale international projects.
Mechanisms for Setting Priorities
To carry out the best physics program possible with a fixed amount of funds, it is necessary to identify and pursue only the most promising opportunities. Pursuit of compelling new initiatives may require that some very interesting programs are either significantly delayed or never initiated and that others are terminated even while they are still productive. It is therefore extremely important that priorities are set in a way that optimizes scientific progress within the
constraints imposed by available resources. The Drell panel report (p. 79) commented:
Diversity, competition and alternative approaches to common scientific goals are necessary for maintaining the strength of the high-energy physics program. However, it is wasteful to duplicate instruments and experiments without strong scientific and technical arguments. Plans must be carefully coordinated, particularly among national laboratories.
The setting of priorities in elementary-particle physics is done at two levels. At each accelerator laboratory, management receives advice from its program advisory committee and chooses the best projects and programs that fit within its expected budget. Then at the national level, the two funding agencies fashion a national program out of these components based on advice on priorities from HEPAP and related subpanels. Over the past 20 years, this process has left a number of very interesting projects unstarted or terminated because of hard decisions about priorities. Included are the CBA machine at Brookhaven, the taucharm factory at SLAC, and a neutrino physics facility at Brookhaven. In addition, the start of a dedicated experiment for bottom quark physics at FNAL has been delayed. Ongoing programs that have been curtailed or reduced to make room for new construction include the Tevatron fixed-target program at FNAL, physics research at the Positron-Electron Project (PEP) ring at SLAC, and the activities of NSF university groups. It is fully expected that priority choices will continue to be required over the next few years, and additional program reductions will occur as new facilities begin operation.
Review of the Governance of the Field
There is some concern within the EPP community that existing administrative structures may not have kept pace with the above changes. In addition, it appears that EPP will face a number of critical issues in the coming years. As new information is acquired from ongoing experiments and progress is made in theoretical understanding, continuing adjustments to the overall objectives of the field will be required. Fashioning a viable and vital domestic program complementary to that at the LHC while contemplating the construction of a possible new facility will be an important challenge. The situation will likely depend on where the next facility is located. International collaboration and participation in new construction will continue to be critical issues for the field.
After reviewing many of the issues described in this section, the Drell panel report (p. 83) reached the following conclusion:
Given these circumstances, the subpanel believes a thorough review of governance of the field is in order and should be undertaken by the supporting government agencies, the Department of Energy and the National Science
Foundation, in cooperation with the community through the American Physical Society's Division of Particles and Fields.
As yet, no such review of these very difficult issues has taken place, and it is probably still in order. There will be a need for continuing advice on these issues to Congress and the federal agencies that support research in this area, and a committee of the Board of Physics and Astronomy (which already has various standing committees in other areas) might be an appropriate avenue. An appropriately constituted committee would work with the agencies to undertake a comprehensive review of the system of administration of the research program in elementary-particle physics, to study the implications of increased internationalization of the field, and to explore possible alternative administrative and advisory mechanisms to respond to the changing environment.
EDUCATION IN ELEMENTARY-PARTICLE PHYSICS
When a country pursues excellence in particle physics research, there are many educational benefits. Early in life, children are attracted to science because it attempts to find answers to such fundamental questions as: What is the world made of? How did the universe begin? Will it ever end? Recognizing that answers to these and similar questions can be found through science, many are motivated to pursue studies in the physical sciences and mathematics. If seeking the answers to these questions is one of a nation's goals, and therefore socially encouraged, it provides a strong stimulus to scientifically oriented education. Not many of the children will end up studying particle physics, but they are more likely to obtain a solid grounding in science and mathematics that leaves them better prepared to cope with the modern technological world.
Particle Physics Graduate Education
Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows play a vital role in particle physics and also receive many educational benefits. They receive hands-on experience in the international high-tech environment of large centers and learn from direct contact with a staff experienced in many different technologies. They also learn to follow tight schedules and strict quality requirements, while facing stiff competition from other experiments. The annual number of graduating Ph.D.s in EPP has remained relatively constant at 160 per year over the past 25 years.
More than half of these students choose to pursue careers outside particle physics. They enter such diverse fields as the chemical or pharmaceutical industries, communications, computing and networking, the medical industry, investment banking, and the electronic components industry. They carry with them an ability to think logically, to solve problems, and to work effectively in collabora-
tion with others. This continuing outflow of students into industry represents an efficient form of technology transfer.
Outreach to the Public
Research in basic science, of which elementary-particle physics is a major component, constitutes a substantial public investment in the foundations of our culture and in the well-being and technological advances of future generations. Far from being self-evident, the motivations, excitement, and significance of this endeavor must be communicated to the public. The important task of communication and outreach to the public can be achieved only in a collaborative effort among the media, schools, universities, and national laboratories. In the post-Cold War, post-SSC era, many elementary-particle physicists became convinced of the need to redouble efforts to communicate effectively to the public. This effort, which is a core responsibility of the scientific community, must go on continuously to build a base of understanding. In the past, communication with the public often occurred only sporadically (e.g., when support for a new, expensive project was needed). Very substantial efforts are already under way, and there exists a need to build on these existing activities.
An example of an attempt to foster greater understanding among the general public of the meaning and significance of scientific results is the "plain English" program recently initiated by the DO experimental collaboration. As part of the normal publication process, collaborators explain new results and make clear how they fit into the picture of current particle physics research in language understandable to nonphysicists. These short summaries are currently available on the World Wide Web (http://www-d0.fnal.gov/public/pubs/d0_physics-summaries.html), and the collaboration is looking into other methods of disseminating this information more widely. Thus far, the response, especially from science reporters, has been enthusiastic.
The national laboratories involved in particle physics research have also been influential in fostering science at the high school or college level. Most of these laboratories have programs aimed at bringing high school and college students into a research setting, putting them in contact with frontier researchers, and exposing them to real research environments. At some of these laboratories, such programs are geared toward groups, such as women or minorities, that have traditionally been underrepresented in science. In addition, the laboratories have special programs for high school teachers, which allow them to update their own training and then transfer that knowledge to students.
Both NSF and DOE have increased their efforts to create and organize materials about EPP designed to be intelligible to the public and useful to high school teachers. Some of these materials can be found on the Internet (http://www.nsf.gov:80/mps/phy/particle.html and http://www.er.doe.gov/production/henp/henp.html).
One very active national group is the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP, http://pdg.lbl.gov/cpep.html), which consists of teachers, educators, and physicists. This group has created the wall chart on Fundamental Particles and Interactions and distributed more than 100,000 copies to U.S. secondary schools and colleges. It also has very popular color software for high school and college students. Packets of classroom activities about particle physics have been mailed to every high school physics teacher in the United States. CPEP conducts many workshops for teachers on how to use CPEP materials to teach particle physics.
A more complete listing of elementary-particle physics education and outreach activities at universities and national laboratories may be found at http://www-ed.fnal.gov/hep/home.html.