News of the WeekHigh-Energy Physics

Deep Potholes Block the Road to Discovery for U.S. Science

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Science  21 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6015, pp. 268-269
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6015.268

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When the Department of Energy (DOE) decided last week to shut down the atom smasher at the last dedicated U.S. particle physics lab this fall, some scientists breathed a sigh of relief because the move opens the way to pursue a variety of new projects. But U.S. particle physicists still face a bumpy ride along an uncertain road. It wasn't long ago that U.S. particle physicists formulated a broad, coherent, and realistic road map to carry the field through the next decade. But that program has now been hit with bureaucratic snags, delays, and unexpected expenses. Some observers even wonder whether DOE, which embraced the plan for its $810-million-a-year high-energy physics program, is capable of implementing it.