Conveying our excitement for the ILC: Two months left until LCWS 2016

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (October 9, 2016 edition).

The Linear Collider Workshop (LCWS) is a conference where scientists discuss particle accelerator projects like the International Linear Collider, a large-scale experimental facility that will aim to solve the mysteries of the universe’s origins. This year it will be held in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture from December 5th to December 9th. Iwate is also home to the candidate site for the ILC, and holding the LCWS will prepare the area should the Japanese national government decide to accept the project. It will also be an important opportunity to improve technology and solve issues facing the project. During the LCWS, the Iwate Prefecture ILC Promotion Council (led by Kunihisa Yamura, the chairman of the Iwate Federation of Commerce & Industry) will hold a large gathering for the citizens of Iwate to convey their excitement for the ILC.

The LCWS is being organized by the Linear Collider Collaboration (LCC), which is the organization of international researchers at the head of the ILC project. It will be held at the Aiina and Malios buildings on the west side of Morioka Station in Morioka City.

Around 300 researchers will participate, including experts in accelerators (devices that accelerate particles and collider them together), detectors (devices that study the effects of the collision), and other physics fields. Prof. Hitoshi Yamamoto of Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Science is the chair of the international committee, and the chair of the local committee being helmed by Prof. Shinya Narita of Iwate University’s Department of Physical Science and Engineering.

There will be large gatherings of all participants and smaller workshops during the LCWS. Participants will bring the results of their latest research, and discuss the issues facing the realization of the ILC project. There will be opportunities for Japanese businesses to network with researchers, and a tour to the proposed site of the ILC in the Kitakami mountains is being planned for the last day of the conference.

The prefectural citizen gathering, originally planned by the Iwate Prefecture ILC Promotion Council for summer time, has been scheduled to fall during the LCWS. It will be held on December 6th starting at 2 p.m. at the Chuo Public Hall in Atago-cho, Morioka City. Along with a speech from Dr. Atsuto Suzuki, the president of Iwate Prefectural University and former president of KEK (Japan’s High Energy Accelerator Research Organization in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture), there will also be an open debate scheduled for mayors of the towns surrounding the ILC site.

When the head leadership of the LCC visited Iwate in 2013, they made clear that they are only considering the Kitakami mountain site as they further plan the ILC. That means that if the Japanese national government decides to invite the ILC, an ILC built in the Kitakami site is almost certain. Currently, the national government is deliberating with a panel of experts on whether or not to build the ILC in Japan. Their conclusions will be released around the end of 2017 to 2018.

Prof. Narita spoke of his hopes for the LCWS. “We will prepare an environment for a successful conference. If the ILC is realized, Japan will become a center of advanced science and technology. We hope we can use the LCWS to convey to the whole country the tremendous merit to the project.”