Particle Physics Progress and Priorities

The U.S. particle physics community has a clear vision for the future. The P5 report provides the strategy and priorities for U.S. investments in particle physics for the coming decade. These carefully chosen investments will enable a steady stream of exciting new results for many years to come and will maintain U.S. leadership in key areas.


Recent Advances and Top Priorities

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The top four priorities in 2019

  • Advance the High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) accelerator and ATLAS and CMS detector upgrade projects on schedule, continuing the highly successful LHC program and bilateral partnership with CERN. This is P5’s highest-priority near-term large project.
  • Advance the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), and Proton Improvement Plan II (PIP-II), working with international partners on the engineering design, prototypes, initial site construction, and long-lead procurements. This is P5’s highest-priority large project in its time frame.
  • Support the existing construction projects enabling the next major discoveries in particle physics, including LSST, DESI, Mu2e, LHCb, LZ, and SuperCDMS-SNOLAB.
  • Support scientific research at universities and national laboratories, which includes data analysis, R&D, and a vibrant theory program. These activities are essential for extracting scientific knowledge from the data, as well as maintaining U.S. leadership and training the next generation of scientists and innovators.

Sunset view of the LSST Observatory under construction, November 2017. Image courtesy of LSST Project/NSF/AURA.


Recent Results

  • The NOvA experiment has now seen anti-neutrino oscillations, with an analysis run in record time on a supercomputer cluster of more than a million CPU cores.
  • The LHC experiments reported many exciting results, including evidence of Higgs boson interactions with additional known particles, an important and challenging milestone in the program to use the Higgs as a new tool for
  • New constraints on the characteristics of the mysterious dark matter were obtained by the IceCube, LUX, SuperCDMS, ADMX, XENON1T, ATLAS, and CMS experiments.
  • The Dark Energy Survey (DES) released its first supernova-based cosmology results using the first three years of data.

Scientists working on SuperCDMS-SNOLAB. Image courtesy of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

The LUX detector. Image courtesy of Sanford Underground Research Facility.


Program advances in 2018

  • Building upon the historic 2015 bilateral U.S.-CERN agreements, U.S. and CERN scientists successfully continued their cooperative partnership at the LHC and the international neutrino program hosted by Fermilab. 
  • The new CMS pixel detector at the LHC began operations, HL-LHC accelerator upgrade construction started, and the HL-LHC ATLAS and CMS detector designs advanced.
  • The community continues to move rapidly toward a new era of neutrino physics. Development of LBNF and DUNE became truly international, providing a worldwide focus of scientific research hosted at Fermilab. In addition to the planned UK contributions, India recently expanded its bilateral partnership to include LBNF/DUNE and Italy has agreed to collaborate on the development of PIP-II. The protoDUNE detector is now operational.
  • The Muon g-2 experiment construction was completed successfully, and its first physics run is now underway.
  • Next-generation dark matter and dark energy experiments progressed. The selected dark matter experiments SuperCDMS-SNOLAB, and LZ continued construction. Recent pathfinder experiments, advances in quantum technology, and theoretical insights have opened the potential for dark matter discovery in a mass range once thought inaccessible. DES successfully completed its survey. The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) construction projects continued on schedule.
  • Community efforts are underway to develop the next-generation cosmic microwave background facility, CMB-S4, which will probe in unique ways the physics of the very early Universe at energies far higher than can be achieved in earthbound accelerators and will also reveal neutrino properties.

The Muon g-2 Experiment. Image courtesy of Fermilab.


Looking Forward

  • All eyes are on the LHC, as its sensitivity to new physics will continue to improve for many years to come.
  • Eagerly anticipated new data from operating experiments will advance the understanding of the intertwined Science Drivers identified in the P5 Report.
  • The vibrant U.S. particle physics theory community will continue to play key roles interpreting results from current experiments, motivating future experiments, and pursuing the deepest questions.
  • Japan is considering hosting the International Linear Collider (ILC), which would provide new opportunities for discovery.
  • Theoretical and experimental particle physicists are advancing Quantum Information Science (QIS), providing solutions to problems in computation, data analysis, sensors, and simulations.
  • U.S. researchers are pursuing R&D on advanced technologies to enable future generations of accelerators and detectors with a wide variety of applications.

The Large Hadron Collider tunnel at CERN. Image courtesy of CERN.

Particle theorists identify new directions for the field and support current experiments. Image courtesy of Fermilab.