NSF’s Large Hadron Collider Research Program
Encourage NSF to restore $22 million to the FY2004 – 2008 ‘glide path’ for the LHC Research Program.
Most of the universities in the U.S. with graduate programs in high energy physics are participating in the
experiments being built at the new accelerator at the CERN laboratory in Europe. This work is expected to
produce compelling new discoveries, and agency reviews have repeatedly given it high scientific ratings.
Aside from the opportunities anticipated in fundamental physics research, the project will enhance the
technological capabilities of U.S research institutions and advance international cooperation in the
construction and operation of large scientific facilities. To enable the U.S. component, the Department of
Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) provided $531 million of funds for American
scientists to build, at their own institutions, particle detectors for these experiments.
This construction project is now about 90 percent complete, and the funding agencies have put in place a
Research Program to allow the commissioning and operation of these American-built detectors, and to
provide the research tools necessary to deal with the flood of data that will be produced. Included in the
Research Program are: computing farms spread out over the U.S. institutions and the networking to connect
them with each other and to CERN; the software to extract information from the raw data and to allow
scientific analysis and discovery; and the new tools necessary to handle the science distributed over a nation-
wide and world-wide collaboration. These tools are critical if U.S. physicists are to fully benefit from the
LHC’s operation and the scientific opportunities it will generate.
The budget for this Research Program was developed through a multi-year process of planning and review.
Over the last two years, however, the funding profile that defined the NSF and DOE support needed to