“A refusal of the ILC would be the same mistake the US made” – An interview with Sheldon Glashow – Iwate Nippo

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (August 7th edition). Read the original here.

(continued from part 1 with Barry Barish)

Iwate Nippo got the opportunity to interview American Nobel laureates in Physics Barry Barish and Sheldon Glashow following their symposium in Tokyo. They talked about their thoughts on strengthening the call for the ILC towards both the American and Japanese governments. Dr. Barish stressed how important the ILC would be: “This would support Japan becoming a leader in elementary particle physics.” Dr. Glashow talked about how America had canceled a project to build a massive particle collider, which brought a shockwave upon all of fundamental physics research. Keeping that in mind, “if Japan refuses the ILC, they would be making the same mistake the USA did.”

(Interviewed by Yuki Kanda, deputy general of the editing bureau of Iwate Nippo)

In Japan, they have been debating the effects of investing such a large amount of money in the ILC. Why should the ILC be built here?

“During the Clinton administration, the USA canceled the Superconducting Supercollider project. This struck a decisive blow against fundamental physics and high energy science in the United States, and there hasn’t been a plan to build a collider (in the US) ever since. If Japan refuses this wonderful project, they would be making the same mistake as the USA.”

“Is what CERN found really the Higgs particle? We haven’t been able to precisely measure its characteristics yet, so that will be one of the roles of the ILC. There is a possibility the ILC will discover other various surprising things. For the next few decades, it may be able to research things in a way that other competing machines won’t be able to. Japan is in a very fortuitous position to be able to build that sort of international laboratory.”

“For example, LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, a laboratory directed by Barry Barish, and whose research netted him a Nobel Prize) has less of a direct economic effect than the ILC would, but it has created valuable technology that is being used in a number of different industries. Japan is surrounded by competition like USA and China, so the ILC is something you must undertake in order to gain the world’s most advanced technology and come out on top.”

Will you continue to call on various governments to realize the ILC?

“I will continue to do so as long as I am able. However, I do think this is the last chance for the Japanese government to make their intentions known. If the current administration cannot decide, then I doubt anyone can. If Japan makes a positive decision, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the USA immediately follows up by saying they’ll join in the ILC effort. Once that happens, then you can surmise that Europe, China, and even Russia will join along.”

Can you describe the future with the ILC?

“Right now, we are in a new, shining era where Japan is producing many Nobel Prize winners in a number of different fundamental science fields. On the other side of the ocean, people who can’t get the prize are watching with envy. You must continue to protect this strong position. If the ILC is built, then Japan will no doubt become the center of fundamental physics research for the next few decades. People from around the world will gather here, and it will become a tourist spot just like CERN has. Wonderful encounters are waiting for the science and physics communities of Japan.”

Sheldon Glashow

Born in New York, USA in 1932. 85 years old. Professor emeritus at Boston University and Harvard University. He won the Nobel Prize in 1979 because of his contributions to the Standard Model of elementary particles. He supports the realization of the ILC in hopes that it will find new physics beyond the Standard Model.