Fundamental physics at the intensity frontier. Report of the workshop held December 2011 in Rockville, MD.

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Particle physics aims to understand the universe around us. The Standard Model of particle physics describes the basic structure of matter and forces, to the extent we have been able to probe thus far. However, it leaves some big questions unanswered. Some are within the Standard Model itself, such as why there are so many fundamental particles and why they have different masses. In other cases, the Standard Model simply fails to explain some phenomena, such as the observed matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe, the existence of dark matter and dark energy, and the mechanism that reconciles gravity with quantum ... continued below

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Hewett, J.L.; Weerts, H.; Brock, R.; Butler, J.N.; Casey, B.C.K.; Lu, Z.T. et al. June 5, 2012.

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Particle physics aims to understand the universe around us. The Standard Model of particle physics describes the basic structure of matter and forces, to the extent we have been able to probe thus far. However, it leaves some big questions unanswered. Some are within the Standard Model itself, such as why there are so many fundamental particles and why they have different masses. In other cases, the Standard Model simply fails to explain some phenomena, such as the observed matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe, the existence of dark matter and dark energy, and the mechanism that reconciles gravity with quantum mechanics. These gaps lead us to conclude that the universe must contain new and unexplored elements of Nature. Most of particle and nuclear physics is directed towards discovering and understanding these new laws of physics. These questions are best pursued with a variety of approaches, rather than with a single experiment or technique. Particle physics uses three basic approaches, often characterized as exploration along the cosmic, energy, and intensity frontiers. Each employs different tools and techniques, but they ultimately address the same fundamental questions. This allows a multi-pronged approach where attacking basic questions from different angles furthers knowledge and provides deeper answers, so that the whole is more than a sum of the parts. A coherent picture or underlying theoretical model can more easily emerge, to be proven correct or not. The intensity frontier explores fundamental physics with intense sources and ultra-sensitive, sometimes massive detectors. It encompasses searches for extremely rare processes and for tiny deviations from Standard Model expectations. Intensity frontier experiments use precision measurements to probe quantum effects. They typically investigate very large energy scales, even higher than the kinematic reach of high energy particle accelerators. The science addresses basic questions, such as: Are there new sources of CP violation? Is there CP violation in the leptonic sector? Are neutrinos their own antiparticles? Do the forces unify? Is there a weakly coupled hidden sector that is related to dark matter? Do new symmetries exist at very high energy scales? To identify the most compelling science opportunities in this area, the workshop Fundamental Physics at the Intensity Frontier was held in December 2011, sponsored by the Office of High Energy Physics in the US Department of Energy Office of Science. Participants investigated the most promising experiments to exploit these opportunities and described the knowledge that can be gained from such a program. The workshop generated much interest in the community, as witnessed by the large and energetic participation by a broad spectrum of scientists. This document chronicles the activities of the workshop, with contributions by more than 450 authors. The workshop organized the intensity frontier science program along six topics that formed the basis for working groups: experiments that probe (i) heavy quarks, (ii) charged leptons, (iii) neutrinos, (iv) proton decay, (v) light, weakly interacting particles, and (vi) nucleons, nuclei, and atoms. The conveners for each working group included an experimenter and a theorist working in the field and an observer from the community at large. The working groups began their efforts well in advance of the workshop, holding regular meetings and soliciting written contributions. Specific avenues of exploration were identified by each working group. Experiments that study rare strange, charm, and bottom meson decays provide a broad program of measurements that are sensitive to new interactions. Charged leptons, particularly muons and taus, provide a precise probe for new physics because the Standard Model predictions for their properties are very accurate. Research at the intensity frontier can reveal CP violation in the lepton sector, and elucidate whether neutrinos are their own antiparticles. A very weakly coupled hidden-sector that may comprise the dark matter in the universe could be discovered. The search for proton decay can probe the unification of the forces with unprecedented reach and test sacrosanct symmetries to very high scales. Detecting an electric dipole moment for the neutron, or neutral atoms, could establish a clear signal for new physics, while limits on such a measurement would place severe constraints on many new theories. This workshop marked the first instance where discussion of these diverse programs was held under one roof. As a result, it was realized that this broad effort has many connections; a large degree of synergy exists between the different areas and they address similar questions. Results from one area were found to be pertinent to experiments in another domain.

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  • Report No.: ANL-HEP-TR-12-25
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-06CH11357
  • DOI: 10.2172/1042577 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1042577
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc834115

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  • June 5, 2012

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 12, 2016, 7:07 p.m.

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Hewett, J.L.; Weerts, H.; Brock, R.; Butler, J.N.; Casey, B.C.K.; Lu, Z.T. et al. Fundamental physics at the intensity frontier. Report of the workshop held December 2011 in Rockville, MD., report, June 5, 2012; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc834115/: accessed August 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.