The International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) recently approved a lower energy level for the initial stage for the ILC, but what does that mean for the project as a whole? Prof. Hitoshi Yamamoto, of Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Science, served as Director for Physics and Detectors in the Linear Collider Collaboration until December of last year. We asked him his thoughts and views on the future of the ILC. (Reported by Hiroaki Kumagai)
―What’s next for the ILC after this staging decision?
“Construction costs will be greatly reduced, and there’s a greater sense that the ILC is really possible. You could even say that it’s not just good for Japan, but for the project worldwide – it’s much more possible now for other countries to participate.”
―This decision reduces the energy level of the accelerator to half its original level. How will this affect research plans?
“The Higgs boson is a special particle that gives mass to all matter, but it’s still shrouded in mystery. Studying the Higgs is the ILC’s most important challenge. The recent proposal was to set the initial stage at an energy level that is still perfect for studying the Higgs, and run it for about 10 years. We could then take those results, and figure out the best energy level for finding new particles, so it would largely direct how research goes from that point.”
“At the energy level initially proposed, important research could be done on things besides the Higgs. There is a great chance we could find a new particle.”
―The international scientific community is urging the Japanese national government to make a decision on the ILC as quickly as possible.
“CERN in Geneva is currently deliberating on a 100 km circumference circular accelerator for its future plans. As a preliminary step before that, they might place a collider into that huge tunnel that would smash electrons and positrons like the ILC. If the ILC takes too long, that proposal might gain some steam. There’s also a high possibility that the Chinese plan for a large-scale circular collider could overtake the ILC. Just as ICFA said in their statement, the Japanese government mustn’t lose this chance to make their decision.”
―What can local governments and residents do to prepare for the ILC?
“If the ILC is realized, then lots of top scientists and engineers will arrive from around the world. We need to take a stance of acceptance, as people will have different cultures, customs, and perspectives. We also must put systems in place so hospitals, city halls, and commercial businesses can serve people in English.”