HoganP5input - US Particle Physics

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I hope you will take very seriously the part of your charge that addresses
“effective communications about the excitement, impact and vitality of highenergy physics that can be shared with non-scientific audiences.” These will
indeed be critical to making the case for our plan. I agree that an excellent starting
point is the Quantum Universe report. I also believe that it can and should be
improved and updated.
First, I think our community should some embrace and publicly own some very
broad and inclusive basic theme, such as the “fundamental nature of matter,
energy space and time” used in that report. If this wording seems too technical or
hifalutin, we should find something else equally broad that works. (But I like it.) I
think we should not be shy about using it frequently as we make our case.
Let me also offer an example of the kind of broadening I think is appropriate. On
page 5 of that report appears an excellent summary paragraph:
“Since Einstein, physicists have sought a unified theory to explain all the
fundamental forces and particles in the universe. The result is a stunningly
successful theory that reduces the complexity of microscopic physics to a set of
concise laws. But these same quantum ideas fail when applied to cosmic physics.
Some fundamental piece is missing; gravity, dark matter and dark energy must
have quantum explanations. A new theoretical vision is required, one that
embraces the Standard Model and general relativity, while resolving the mystery
of dark energy. Particle accelerators provide the means to reach a unified
theoretical perspective in experiments characterized by four well-defined
intellectual thrusts.”
I think the final sentence here jumps too abruptly to one part of our program, which
may or not be the one that brings about a solution. Here is a (still highly imperfect
and too technical) rewrite that is more inclusive:
“Since Einstein, physicists have sought a unified theory to explain how the
universe works. The result is a stunningly successful theory that reduces the
complexity of microscopic physics to a set of concise laws governing particles and
their interactions. But these same quantum ideas fail when applied to space and
time. Some radically different idea is missing; gravity, dark matter and dark
energy do not yet have quantum explanations. A new theoretical vision is required
that embraces and reconciles the Standard Model and general relativity, while
resolving experimental mysteries such as dark energy. The theory will be guided
by new experiments that probe the behavior of matter, energy, space and time
under the most extreme conditions: the highest and lowest densities and energies,
the smallest and largest scales of time and space.”
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