Future Experiments Workshop
BND School sept 2016, Antwerpen

General considerations and motivation for the workshop:

You are young particle physics PhD students. Some of you will have future permanent jobs in the field. Some of you might become decision makers: head of a group, a lab, funding agency advisory panel, …

At some point in your career you might wonder what to do next, either as post-doc or as young independent researcher eager to set out your own research line.

The choices you will make  on what to pursue and which experiment(s) to join will probably be driven by questions such as:
  1. What are the current big open questions in the field of High Energy Physics (HEP)?
  2. What are current ongoing and planned/proposed HEP experiments/projects to address these questions?
  3. What is the capacity of your group: is there manpower and budget to be involved in more than 1 experiment?
  4. Do you prefer the comfort but perhaps also the anonymity of a large collaboration?
  5. What type of physics do YOU find worth pursuing?
  6. Do your (local) funding agencies agree with your opinion?
  7. Is there a long standing research tradition of your lab in a given subfield of HEP, which you could use to your advantage?
  8. Do you want to build or develop a new experiment?
  9. Do you enjoy collaborating with certain people?
  10. ...

Some of these questions are hard to answer at this point in your career, nevertheless it is worth keeping those questions in mind throughout your career and your personal search for future job opportunities. The basis of a solidly founded decision is to be well informed about the state of the art of our research domain. In general, the better informed you are, the more founded your future choices will be, and the more convincing your funding applications will be.
The key here is to find efficiently the relevant and correct sources of information.

Aims of the course:

  • Get a broader picture of your field, 
  • identify reliable sources of information, 
  • work yourself into a new topic in relatively short time, 
  • reflect critically on new information, 
  • assess potential and opportunities, 
  • convince and motivate others by transferring your insights

  • Find relevant information on a relatively unknown topic, 
  • read and separate essence from technicalities, 
  • ask yourself the right questions, 
  • formulate simple, if possible intuitive answers

Practical arrangements:

Dates and times of sessions and presentations:

After choosing your topic, perform background research and do some reading in your spare time. You can ask questions to the lecturers (N. van Remortel and X. Janssen during the work sessions. The work sessions are also an opportunity to discuss and prepare the final project presentation within your group.

Mon 29/8, 16:15 - 18:00 : Introduction and forming of groups
Tues  06/9,  15:30 - 17:15 : work session
Wed  07/9,  10:30 - 12:15 : work session
Thur  08/9, 15:30 - 18:15 : Final presentation of projects!

General sources of information on the research planning in experimental HEP:

What are the current BIG questions in our field? I'm sure you can think of some.
They don't change that often but sometimes get adjusted as new experimental or theoretical insights are obtained.

In order to make plans on addressing these questions, one should be aware of what is currently known and done, and what the prospects are in the near and long future. The  sources of information to answer these questions are diverse:

  1. Attend large and renown HEP conferences with a broad scope: ICHEP, EPS, Lepton-Photon, Moriond, ...
  2. Visit general audience HEP seminars in your own or neighboring institutes (National HEP days, jamborees, APS annual meeting, CERN colloquia, Fermilab wine&cheese, ...)
  3. Organize seminars/topical lectures in your own lab
  4. Read review papers: Particle data group annual review, see also dedicated journal issues:
  5. Read PhD theses on other topics, they usually offer a concise and up to date state of the art of the field
  6. Follow HEP science blogs
  7. ...

Keep in mind that there are official organisms that advise on future HEP strategies on national, EU and international level:

The United States future experimental HEP program is largely steered by the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5), a subgroup of the 

High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP). Their reports and recommendations can be found here:
The latest long term strategy report issued by P5 can be found here:

Europe has similar advisory panels ans strategy groups that report or meet once every few years:
the latest European strategy report:

Other bodies and organizations that gather, synthesize information and advise:
International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA), (http://www.fnal.gov/directorate/icfa/)
European Committee for Future Accelerators (ECFA), (http://ecfa.web.cern.ch/ecfa/en/Welcome.html)
AStroParticle European Research Area (ASPERA), (http://www.aspera-eu.org/)
Astroparticle Physics European Consortium (ApPEC), (
European Physical Society, High Energy and Particle Physics Division: http://eps-hepp.web.cern.ch/eps-hepp/
American Physical Society (APS), Division of Particles and Fields (http://dpfnewsletter.org/
SNOWMASS workshops (http://www.snowmass2013.org/tiki-index.php)
US National Science Foundation (NSF) and HEPAP advisory panel (http://science.energy.gov/hep/hepap)
National science foundation and physical society of your own country, ...

Other useful links, databases of experiments and projects:

Current list of registered experiments on SPIRES: 

CERN Greybook of experiments: