National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
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An Assessment of the
Science Proposed for
the Deep Underground
Science and Engineering
Laboratory (DUSEL)

Ad Hoc Committee to Assess the Science Proposed for a Deep
Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL)

Board on Physics and Astronomy

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS    500 Fifth Street, N.W.     Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by Grant No. PHY1016162 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation and by Grant No. DE-SE00004240 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Energy. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-21723-1

International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-21723-7

Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu; and the Board on Physics and Astronomy, National Research Council, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001; Internet, http://www.national-academies.org/bpa.

Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

 

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
×

COMMITTEE TO ASSESS THE SCIENCE PROPOSED FOR A DEEP UNDERGROUND SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING LABORATORY

ANDREW J. LANKFORD, University of California at Irvine, Chair

YORAM ALHASSID, Yale University

EUGENIO COCCIA, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”

CHARLES FAIRHURST, Itasca Consulting Group, Inc.

BRADLEY W. FILIPPONE, California Institute of Technology

PETER FISHER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

TAKAAKI KAJITA, University of Tokyo

STEPHEN E. LAUBACH, University of Texas at Austin

ANN NELSON, University of Washington

RENE A. ONG, University of California at Los Angeles

FRANK J. SCIULLI, Columbia University

MARJORIE SHAPIRO, University of California at Berkeley and E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

JAMES M. TIEDJE, Michigan State University

DAVID WARK, Imperial College London

Staff

DONALD C. SHAPERO, Director

JAMES C. LANCASTER, Program Officer

CARYN J. KNUTSEN, Associate Program Officer

TERI G. THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator

BETH DOLAN, Financial Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
×

BOARD ON PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY

ADAM S. BURROWS, Princeton University, Chair

PHILIP H. BUCKSBAUM, Stanford University, Vice Chair

RICCARDO BETTI, University of Rochester

JAMES DRAKE, University of Maryland

JAMES EISENSTEIN, California Institute of Technology

DEBRA ELMEGREEN, Vassar College

PAUL FLEURY, Yale University

PETER F. GREEN, University of Michigan

LAURA H. GREENE, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

MARTHA P. HAYNES, Cornell University

JOSEPH HEZIR, EOP Group, Inc.

MARC A. KASTNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MARK B. KETCHEN, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center

JOSEPH LYKKEN, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

PIERRE MEYSTRE, University of Arizona

HOMER A. NEAL, University of Michigan

MONICA OLVERA DE LA CRUZ, Northwestern University

JOSE N. ONUCHIC, University of California at San Diego

LISA J. RANDALL, Harvard University

MICHAEL S. TURNER, University of Chicago

MICHAEL C.F. WIESCHER, University of Notre Dame

Staff

DONALD C. SHAPERO, Director

ROBERT L. RIEMER, Senior Program Officer

JAMES C. LANCASTER, Program Officer

DAVID B. LANG, Program Officer

CARYN J. KNUTSEN, Associate Program Officer

TERI G. THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator

BETH DOLAN, Financial Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
×

Preface

The size, complexity, and costs of the instruments of scientific inquiry are almost as diverse as the questions addressed in those inquiries. They range from atomic physics experiments that rest on a tabletop and might be assembled for less than a quarter of a million dollars, to accelerator complexes that spread over tens of square kilometers and cost billions of dollars to build. Underground laboratories are a relatively recent addition to this array of facilities. Built to shield extremely sensitive detectors from the noise of their surrounds and the signals associated with cosmic rays, underground facilities have been established over the last 30 years at a number of sites worldwide. To date, the United States’ efforts to develop such facilities have been modest and consist primarily of a small underground laboratory in Soudan, Minnesota, and the Sanford Underground Laboratory, a developmental research laboratory at the site of the proposed Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) in Lead, South Dakota. Researchers from the United States who are interested in pursuing experiments that require these ultraquiet spaces have typically worked in collaboration with others in large underground facilities built in Europe, Japan, and Canada.

Over the past 50 years, the U.S. underground science community, principally researchers in nuclear and particle physics, has pushed for a larger underground laboratory on the scale of the major facilities located in other countries. This push gained significant support during the long-range planning process of the nuclear and physics communities. The nuclear physics community placed the building of an underground facility as a top priority for its field, and the particle physics community recognized the importance of such a facility for achieving several of

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
×

the scientific goals in its field.1 Proceeding with the development of a major underground research facility was also encouraged and supported through workshops and advisory committees sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Consequently, the NSF, working with DOE and the science community, formally evaluated the science that might take place at such a facility, developed an initial suite of experiments, and then selected a potential site for those experiments, an abandoned mine in Lead, South Dakota (the “DUSEL facility”).

During the final deliberations on whether to proceed with the program, DOE and NSF approached the National Research Council (NRC) and requested that it provide an independent assessment of the science possibilities associated with construction of the DUSEL facility and how the program proposed for the facility would impact both the stewardship of the research communities involved and broader public interests. The statement of task for the committee that was assembled to carry out this effort—the Committee to Assess the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL)—is as follows:

The committee will undertake an assessment of the proposed DUSEL program, including:

•  An assessment of the major physics questions that could be addressed with the proposed DUSEL and associated physics experiments,

•  An assessment of the impact of the DUSEL infrastructure on research in fields other than physics,

•  An assessment of the impact of the proposed program on the stewardship of the research communities involved,

•  An assessment of the need to develop such a program in the U.S., in the context of similar science programs in other regions of the world,

•  An assessment of broader impacts of such an activity, including but not limited to education and outreach to the public.

Shortly before the committee’s first meeting in mid-December 2010, the National Science Board (NSB), which is the governing board of the NSF, decided not to provide an interim $29 million for bridge funding to support the further development of the DUSEL facility until it would enter its final design stage in the summer of 2011. As described in the FY2012 budget request for NSF’s Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Science submitted several months later, the decision not to provide the bridge funding was part of a larger determination by the NSB that because the scope and likely cost of the project were outside of NSF’s core mission responsibilities, NSF would not be the principal steward of the DUSEL

___________________

1 DOE/NSF. 2007. The Frontiers of Nuclear Science: A Long Range Plan. Report of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, p. 7; DOE/NSF. 2008. US Particle Physics: Scientific Opportunities: A Strategic Plan for the Next Ten Years, Report of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel, p. 2.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
×

facility.2 From the time of that December 2010 decision through the time this report was written, DOE and NSF have been discussing whether to proceed with some or all of the program described in the material developed for the DUSEL project. Those discussions notwithstanding, the path that will be taken for developing an integrated underground research facility, or even whether such a facility will be built, has not been decided.

The NSB’s decision not to proceed as steward of the program had an immediate impact on the approach that this committee needed to take in addressing its charge. Obviously, the “proposed DUSEL program” referred to in the statement of task did not have the same meaning after the NSB’s decision as it had had before. For any underground laboratory, the facility itself is part of the experiment, and much of the science that can be pursued depends on the specifics of that facility—among them, how deep it is; how large its experimental chambers are; how structurally sound it is; and how far it is from other facilities with which it intends to jointly pursue research. Before NSB’s December 2010 decision, a specific suite of experiments was to take place at specific underground locations in a specific site for the committee to evaluate. Since that decision, the scope of the DUSEL program has become much more amorphous. Nonetheless, for purposes of this report, the committee chose to treat the slate of experiments described to it at the first meeting as the “proposed DUSEL program.”3 Furthermore, it understands that those experiments will be included in a preliminary design report to be submitted to the NSF by the project’s principal investigator. Although the committee understands that the DUSEL program envisioned when this committee was assembled is not proceeding, the science to be accomplished in the principal physics experiments proposed for that program remains compelling and argues for the value of developing a U.S. facility, not necessarily on the scale of the originally proposed DUSEL, where these crucial experiments can be conducted and resources shared.

As a final note, at the committee’s first meeting, representatives of the NSF asked the committee to address issues such as whether the NSF-DOE partnership, as it then existed, is necessary and is appropriately structured and whether the DUSEL program merits the investment required to accomplish it. Because these issues are only tangentially, if at all, related to the science questions to be addressed, the committee respectfully declined to make these judgments.4

___________________

2 Available at http://www.nsf.gov/about/budget/fy2012/pdf/fy2012_rollup.pdf, page Overview-9. Last accessed on July 6, 2011.

3 See Statement of Task, Appendix A.

4 As pointed out in a recent NRC study, Assessment of Impediments to Interagency Collaboration on Space and Earth Science Missions (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2010), deciding whether or not to pursue a multiagency collaboration and, then, if one chooses to proceed, how to do so effectively, raises many difficult issues and challenges. That report provides guidance for addressing those issues.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
×

At its first two meetings, the committee heard from a number of people who are either formally or informally involved in helping to develop the DUSEL facility and program. The committee is grateful to these individuals for their information and insights; the materials they provided were a valuable resource for the committee’s work. Finally, I am particularly grateful to the members of this committee and to the staff who worked diligently on a demanding schedule to produce this report.

Andrew Lankford, Chair
Committee to Assess the Science Proposed for the Deep
Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
×

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, University of California at Berkeley,

Frank Calaprice, Princeton University,

Francis Halzen, University of Wisconsin at Madison,

Wick Haxton, University of California at Berkeley,

Ernest Henley, University of Washington,

Joseph Hezir, EOP Group, Inc.,

Mark Peters, Argonne National Laboratory,

John Schiffer, Argonne National Laboratory, and

Yannis Yortsos, University of Southern California

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. An Assessment of the Science Proposed for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13204.
×

recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Julia Phillips, Sandia National Laboratories, as monitor, and James Brau, University of Oregon, as coordinator. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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According to the big bang theory, our Universe began in a state of unimaginably high energy and density, contained in a space of subatomic dimensions. At that time, unlike today, the fundamental forces of nature were presumably unified and the particles present were interacting at energies not attainable by present-day accelerators. Underground laboratories provide the conditions to investigate processes involving rare phenomena in matter and to detect the weak effects of highly elusive particles by replicating similar environments to those once harnessed during the earliest states of the Earth. These laboratories now appear to be the gateway to understanding the physics of the grand unification of the forces of nature.

Built to shield extremely sensitive detectors from the noise of their surroundings and the signals associated with cosmic rays, underground facilities have been established during the last 30 years at a number of sites worldwide. To date, the United States' efforts to develop such facilities have been modest and consist primarily of small underground laboratories. However, the U.S. underground community has pushed for larger underground facilities on the scale of major laboratories in other countries. An Assessment of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) addresses this matter by evaluating the major physics questions and experiments that could be explored with the proposed DUSEL. Measuring the potential impact, this assessment also examines the broader effects of the DUSEL in regards to education and public outreach, and evaluates the need associated with developing U.S. programs similar to science programs in other regions of the world.

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