Europe's Particle Physicists to Plan New Future Strategy

The LHCb team stands in front of their experiment, the LHCb detecor, at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.
The LHCb team stands in front of their experiment, the LHCb detecor, at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. (Image credit: CERN/Maximilien Brice, Rachel Barbier)

European physicists, fresh from their announcement this week of progress toward finding the elusive Higgs boson particle, will meet next year to strategize for the future of particle physics.

Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, announced on Monday (Dec. 12) that they were closing in on the Higgs particle, thought to be responsible for giving other particles mass, through work at the world's largest particle accelerator there, called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The CERN Council announced Thursday (Dec. 15) that it would hold an Open Symposium in Krakow, Poland, from Sept. 10-13, 2012, to update the European Strategy for Particle Physics. The last time physicists set a strategy like this was in July 2006.

"Particle physics is a long-term field of research that requires long-term vision," Tatsuya Nakada, scientific secretary to the European Strategy Session of Council, said in a statement. "With the LHC running well and results coming in, as well as promising prospects for a better understanding of non-LHC physics such as neutrino oscillations, now is the time to start preparing Europe's role in the future development of particle physics."

The Council will seek input from both European and non-European physicists, recognizing that "Europe's strategy forms part of a global whole," according to a CERN statement. The Council plans to solicit written statements from individual physicists as well as larger collaborations, along with funding agencies and science ministries, about physics topics and projects that deserve priority.

After conducting the Open Symposium and reviewing the submissions, the Council plans to hold a special session in Brussels, Belgium, in the summer of 2013 to adopt a new formal strategy.

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