ILC in 2012: Decisions ahead!

The 2000 or so people from around the world who are planning and developing the International Linear Collider (ILC) are starting to get this funny feeling when something that you have been working on and looking forward to for a long, long time is suddenly just around the corner.


Simulation of a Higgs event in a future ILC detector. Copyright: DESY 2006.

2012 will be a big one for the potential next big thing in particle physics: towards the end of the year the community plans to release its Technical Design Report, that all-important publication that basically says “we’re ready – just say the word”.

Of course the future of particle physics in the world depends crucially on results from the LHC, so we are all curious (on the edge of our seats may describe it more appropriately) to see what the big discovery machine will tell us about Standard Model Higgs particles (or not), dark matter and all those other unsolved mysteries on which the next generation of particle accelerators will shed more detailed light. In the meantime, we have worked on improving and maturing the ILC technologies (see our Technical Progress Report published this year) and forming collaborations with CLIC in many different areas.

By the end of next year, it should be clearer what kind of machine we need to complement the LHC. The group that has been busy designing and coordinating the ILC research. Development work will officially cease once the TDR is published and we’ll move on to the next phase: a pre-lab, site studies, new management structure and all that. But while work on our report has already begun, we’re all looking forward to a few days off over the holidays to celebrate the end of a good year, each according to customs from across the world.

by Barry Barish, Director of the Global Design Effort for the International Linear Collider