Reports & Statements

US CERN Agreement on the LHC

On December 8, 1997, representatives of the United States and CERN signed an International Cooperation Agreement Between the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Department of Energy of the United States of America and the National Science Foundation of the United States of America Concerning Scientific and Technical Cooperation on Large Hadron Collider Activities.

DOE Secretary Federico Peña and NSF Director Neal Lane signed the Agreement on behalf of the United States, and Director General Christopher Llewellyn-Smith and Council President Luciano Maiani signed on behalf of CERN. OSTP Director Jack Gibbons presided over the ceremony.

Their speeches are appended below.

Jack Gibbons

Secretary Peña, Directors Lane and Llewellyn-Smith, Professor Maiani and distinguished guests. Thank you all for coming today to participate in this historic event.

As I entered the Indian Treaty Room today, I was struck by all the wonderful guests who have come here from so many different places. Gathered here we have representatives from over twenty countries and three continents including Ambassador Ferdinando Salleo from Italy, Francois Bujon de Estang from France, Ambassador Helmut Tuerk from Austria, and Ambassador Naresh Chandra from India. We also have here today representatives from U.S. Universities, Technical Agencies, Federal Labs, Congress, and the Executive Branch. They have come here from California, Indiana, New York and all points in between.

This incredible coming together of individuals from near and far and from all different walks of life is entirely fitting--and I might add essential--for the journey we are about to embark upon today.

Today, the United States commits itself to join with CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, in an incredible exploration of one of the most fundamental questions of science: the nature of matter. This exploration will be undertaken in an unprecedented international collaboration not unlike--but far more extensive than--the impressive group we have assembled here today.

Over the next nine years, the United States will join in a collaboration with more than 4,000 scientists and engineers in 45 countries in six continents to build the Large Hadron Collider --or LHC--and two of its massive detectors. When it is completed, the facility will define the high-energy frontier--a level of intensity which will allow researchers to delve deeper than ever before into understanding the fundamental nature of matter.

Getting to this point, however, was not as simple as drafting an Agreement; it was almost five years in the planning--in technical discussions, exchanges and workshops; in design, testing and engineering; and most recently in detailed negotiations to formalize an Agreement of cooperation between the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation for the United States and CERN. This Agreement will provide U.S. scientists and engineers an opportunity to exploit nearly ten years of sophisticated research and development in advanced detector and superconducting magnet technologies. And it will establish a working partnership with CERN for the next twenty years.

The list of individuals whose efforts have made this all possible is long--from the scientists, engineers and academicians whose brilliance and creativity allow us to peer ever further inside the atom, to the those in government whose steadfast commitment to the preeminence of U.S. high-energy physics provide the necessary support for this effort to take place. Many of you are here today and you deserve our admiration and appreciation.

I would just like to take a moment to thank a few people in particular.

First, let me thank our distinguished guests from Europe whose exceptional record of building and operating accelerators, and extracting leading edge physics from them, makes for a partnership we are proud to join.

Let me also thank some of the members of Congress, and the House Science Committee, two of whom--Representatives Sherwood Boehlert and Tim Roemer-- are here today. Their vision to see the importance and necessity that international collaborations have for our domestic science programs is greatly appreciated.

Representative Sensenbrenner, who could not be with us today, took a personal interest in this project, and was instrumental in ensuring that our participation brings maximum benefit to the students, scientists, engineers and industry in the United States over the next twenty years.

I would like to thank NSF Director, Neal Lane, his lead negotiator for this Agreement, Bob Eisenstein, and the National Science Foundation for their commitment to ensuring that we will continue to train the next generation of physicists at the high-energy frontier and in engineering at the cutting edge of superconducting accelerator technology.

Lastly, I would like to express a special thanks to Secretary of Energy, Federico Peña, his Director of Energy Research, Martha Krebs, and her tireless staff whose leadership in this new partnership in high-energy physics and whose commitment to excellence in science has made U.S. participation in the Large Hadron Collider a reality.

On behalf of the President, I thank all of you for helping to continue our country's rich tradition of exploration, our passion for learning, our commitment to scientific excellence, and our long-standing spirit of cooperation at home and abroad.

Concluding Remarks
With the signing of this Agreement, we begin a new tradition of cooperation in science and technology. The U.S. contribution to the construction of the LHC represents an important step forward in international scientific collaboration. Increasingly in fundamental research, the costs, complexity and challenges we face are such that no one country can go it alone. International collaborations have become an integral part of our domestic science programs--they provide major tangible benefits at modest costs and serve to boost national competitiveness in both technology development and in fundamental science.

We expect that in the future world-class accelerators and other scientific facilities will be built as multinational collaboration in locations all across the globe. Just as energy is the central concept of physics, international cooperation must become the standard model for science in the years to come. Thus, as we begin this journey today, we embrace this new tradition of cooperation in science and look forward to a long and rewarding partnership with CERN, its member states and all those participating in this endeavor.

Federico Pena

Thank you Jack (Gibbons) for that introduction. Jack, your leadership, guidance and advice helped craft this successful agreement. Congratulations and thank you very much.

Today, we are embarking on an extraordinary scientific journey that will take us to new heights of knowledge about the fundamental nature of the universe.

I have no doubt that when the history of the next 50 years is written, the Large Hadron Collider and all of the science, new ideas and technologies it spawns will be a major chapter.

The agreement we are signing builds on the long tradition of successful international cooperation that the Department of Energy's national laboratories and the nation's universities have created with their counterparts around the world.

Let me take a moment to thank and congratulate all of the people who have made today's historic agreement possible. They include:

Professor Sidney Drell, the distinguished Deputy Director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, who led the Department of Energy's High Energy Physics Advisory Panel that recommended that the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation participate in the Large Hadron Collider initiative. Dr. Drell, would you please stand and be recognized?

And members of Congress who have been strong supporters of the LHC, including the Honorable James Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the House Science Committee, and Representatives George Brown and Sherry Boehlert. I understand we have some staff members from those Congressional here with us today. Would you stand and be recognized?

And the principal negotiators of this agreement: Dr. Martha Krebs, Dr. Robert Eisenstein (Director of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at NSF), and Professor Christopher Llewellyn Smith (Director General of CERN). This is a landmark agreement and it makes sense for America, Europe and the world. You are to be commended for your vision and hard work.

Let's give all of these individuals a well-deserved round of applause. What I would like to discuss today is:

  • How this pathbreaking agreement will work.
  • Why the fundamental science that will emerge from the Collider will prove so important to our future.
  • And why international scientific cooperation like this plays a helping to develop common solutions to our greatest challenges.

Pathbreaking Agreement
When we sign this agreement in a few moments, it will mark the first time the U.S. government has agreed to contribute significantly to the construction, through domestically-produced hardware and technical resources, of an accelerator outside of our borders.

And this is the first agreement between the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, known as CERN, and U.S. government science agencies --which is a teaming of some of the world's greatest scientific talent.

And we aren't alone in our enthusiasm for the Large Hadron Collider. Other nations that are not members of CERN --Japan, Canada, Russia, India and Israel --have agreed to join this international scientific effort.

The Department of Energy will invest $450 million in services and goods for the Collider, while the National Science Foundation will contribute $81 million in services and goods. This is about 10% of the total cost of the Collider and detectors.

Our investment will enable about 25 percent of the U.S. experimental high energy physics community to take advantage of the unique research capabilities of the Collider when it becomes operational in 2005. And what will the Collider do? It will accelerate protons up to speeds just a fraction under the speed of light and smash them together at higher energies than any machine has ever before achieved.

The results of the collisions will allow physicists to study in unprecedented detail and precision the structure of matter, and to shed new light on some of the mysteries of the universe.

Science and Technology Results
It's sometimes difficult for a non-scientist to fully appreciate why the work at the Large Hadron Collider will be so important to our future.

I believe the answer lies with the one quality of human kind that helped our most distant ancestors begin the long climb to civilization: curiosity. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Men love to wonder, and this is the seed of our science."

Human kind has never ceased wondering about the universe we inhabit. This eternal quest for knowledge is what has led to discoveries like the Top Quark at Fermilab.

I am told that this quark is 300,000 times heavier than an electron or about as heavy as an atom of gold. The long standing issue of how fundamental particles, like the Top Quark, have the masses that they do is to be the principal focus of the research at the Large Hadron Collider.

Such questions may seem remote from our daily lives, but I see at least three ways that this initiative will change the way we live and think.

First, we may obtain a deeper understanding of the origins of the universe and how the fundamental building blocks of matter are assembled. Human kind's self-comprehension and our ability to understand the universe could be profoundly enriched.

Second, this agreement will have the immediate effect of advancing our scientific and technical knowledge in magnetics, computation, materials, and a host of other disciplines. The Department of Energy will invest $200 million in the Large Hadron Collider's accelerator.

We are counting on three of the Department's national laboratories --Brookhaven, Berkeley, and Fermi --and U.S. industry to provide the superconducting cables, sophisticated magnets, and high purity alloys and films that will make this project a success.

The remaining $331 million from the Department and the NSF will be used to build the massive detectors, which by themselves are $1 billion projects being built by 4,000 scientists and engineers from 45 countries. We are using our national scientific and engineering strengths to push the technical envelope as these new detectors, computers and associated equipment are developed.

And U.S. companies and the Department's national laboratories, which are at the forefront of many of these technologies, will reap the benefits because the work we fund will be done in the United States and help us build a stronger domestic science base.

I would also like to acknowledge the importance and significance of our partnership with the National Science Foundation. Neal Lane will speak in a few moments about how this partnership will help produce the next generation of scientists and engineers who will make huge contributions to our nation's economy and society in the next millennium. The agreement we are signing today will pave the way for even larger scientific collaborations in the future.

The third way that our nation and the world will benefit from this agreement is through the cascading effect of scientific innovations. There are many examples of basic scientific exploration that have led to epoch shaping innovations. Let me give you an example.

James Clark Maxwell's work on the laws of electricity and magnetism in the 1860s led, fifty years later, to Marconi's first practical wireless transmission. And quantum mechanics, which was a radical idea when first proposed in the early part of this century, today provides the key to our understanding of atomic processes. The combination of Maxwell's Laws and quantum mechanics are the basis for the world's trillion dollar electronics industry.

A characteristic that links these important discoveries is the long time scale, running to decades, between the basic scientific discovery and its practical applications. This will also be our experience with the Large Hadron Collider. It is a safe bet that the young scientists and new technologies that will emerge from this frontier activity will provide amazing advances in the marketplace, in medical clinics, and in our daily lives.

International Science
Our planet --the blue, green and white jewel that floats through a vast cosmos --is becoming a smaller and smaller place. Astronauts who have had the privilege of seeing this fragile and beautiful globe from outer space come back humbled and more appreciative of the need to bring nations together and work toward common purposes.

Today's agreement exemplifies that noble goal by building on the long tradition of successful international partnerships that the Department of Energy's national laboratories --Fermilab, Brookhaven, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Argonne, and others --and U.S. universities have created with laboratories around the world.

This collaboration, enabled through today's agreement, is truly a win/win situation. It allows the international community to benefit from each other's ideas and to work at the newest frontiers of scientific knowledge.

In turn, scientific cooperation among countries can promote world peace and the development of common solutions to international challenges.

When there is a melding of ideas, cultures and scientific disciplines of the magnitude that we will experience at CERN, the solutions to great challenges --reducing the threat posed by global climate change, finding cures for diseases, and lifting the burden of poverty --become closer to reality.

And it will take the entire international community, all of us, working together to address these challenges. We are fortunate to have some of the world's greatest scientific talent converging on CERN and working toward common solutions that will make our jewel of a planet a better place for our children and grandchildren.

As the French author Victor Hugo once wrote, "There is nothing like a dream to create the future." With today's agreement, we are turning a dream into reality and creating a better future for everyone.

Neal Lane

It is indeed an honor to join such distinguished company on such a momentous occasion.

I would also like to echo Secretary Pena's words of praise for Martha Krebs and Bob Eisenstein for heading up the DOE-NSF team that will jointly oversee the U.S. role in the project.

As is clear from our gathering here this morning, the LHC promises to expand frontiers of many kinds. Foremost, of course, is its scientific potential. The desire to discover the deepest secrets of the physical universe is beyond question the ultimate driving force behind the project.

We also know that the LHC marks a quantum leap forward for international cooperation in science and technology, and it also represents a technological challenge of enormous proportions.

Today, I want to say a few words about another frontier that the LHC offers us the opportunity to advance and explore. This frontier lies in the area of public appreciation and understanding of physics in particular and science and engineering in general. Here too, the potential for progress is both exciting and unprecedented.

According to a recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, virtually all of the world's major industrialized countries share one troubling trait. Interest in scientific news and events is surprisingly high, while understanding of scientific concepts and methods is disturbingly low.

On the one hand, a majority of citizens have a high level of interest in science and technology, especially when it affects their lives directly.

But, when it comes to understanding scientific methods and concepts, the numbers drop precipitously, to levels on the order of one-in-five and below.

Some refer to this difference between interest and understanding as a gap or a divide, or even a barrier. I prefer to think of it in another way, as a "potential."

The term potential takes on special meaning within the realm of physics. It describes a situation where one energy source is a high level and another is at a low level. We see this in the "plus" and "minus" signs on the batteries that power our flashlights, not to mention the injectors at CERN that accelerate particles to velocities that approach the speed of light.

Needless to say, when it comes to particle physics, there is a great reservoir of potential we can tap to raise public awareness and understanding. Interest without question is very high. Major discoveries like the Top Quark and antimatter make headlines on the front pages of the world's major newspapers. Whether readers fully appreciate the significance of these breakthroughs is another matter altogether.

That is why this agreement places such a high priority on public education and outreach. Each of the U.S. detectors has named an education coordinator to its senior project management teams. You'll also see that the integration of research and education stands out as a primary objective and responsibility within the overall U.S. investment strategy -- just as it now guides NSF's programming in general. I often say that NSF is involved in everything from elementary schools to elementary particles, and it's not always clear which are more complex or more challenging.

To close therefore, let me restate that the LHC will help us to realize the potential that lies along all of these challenging frontiers. That gives us many reasons to celebrate this historic occasion. With all of you, I look forward to a lasting partnership that advances discovery, learning, and cooperation across our entire society.

Christopher Llewellyn-Smith

Mr Secretary, Mr Director, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Science knows no national borders or continental boundaries. Indeed -- as far as we can tell from light reaching us from distant galaxies -- the laws of Nature are the same everywhere in the Universe and always have been. Progress in science and understanding has no ownership: from the rules of arithmetic to the laws of quantum mechanics, knowledge belongs to nobody and everybody. Curiosity has driven humanity forward from the start of civilization, and the desire to understand how our Universe began, the forces that control it, and perhaps how it will eventually end, is common to all races. Given the universality and openness of science, particularly basic science, it is only natural that scientific research should be carried out in international collaborations, not hemmed in by borders or cultures.

The signature today of the Co-operation Agreement between the United States of America and CERN is an historic event. It is an important step towards the first ever global collaboration in a large scientific construction project. American participation in the Large Hadron Collider will inject a wealth of scientific experience, excellence and characteristic exuberance into the project. The real winner is science as the collaboration of leading high energy physicists from around the world working on the LHC will provide a powerful cocktail, generating a whole which is much stronger than its parts. This global collaboration in science sets an excellent precedent and a model for other fields.

The accelerators needed to carry out front-line research in particle physics are beyond the means of most individual nations, which therefore must collaborate if they wish to participate in this field. In Europe, for example, the basic cost of CERN is shared by 19 countries with a population of 450 million, and as a result -- contrary to popular opinion -- the cost per researcher of supporting particle physics is not grossly out of line with the cost of supporting other fields of research.

From the start, the experience of CERN has shown that international collaboration has many benefits, the combination of intellectual forces being even more important than the combination of financial resources. Working together, engineers and scientists trained in different traditions to look at problems from different perspectives often come up with new, unexpected, ideas and solutions to problems. Furthermore, all of us are enriched by working in multinational environments. Collaborating in highly motivated, multicultural teams at the LHC, at the frontiers of knowledge and technology, will be a unique training for the students and young scientists, who constitute the majority of the users of the world's particle physics laboratories.

There is of course a long and great tradition of transatlantic exchanges of young scientists. For a long period it was almost a necessity for aspiring young European scientists to spend a period in the US. I certainly benefited greatly from the exciting two years that I spent at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center some 25 years ago.

In addition to transatlantic exchanges, ongoing transatlantic collaboration by commuting scientists became possible in the era of cheap jet travel. The importance of this ongoing collaboration was recognized by the International Committee for Future Accelerators which, in 1980, formulated the excellent access guidelines under which particle physics operates worldwide. These guidelines are today, for the first time, explicitly recognized in an International Agreement.

Research carried out at distant accelerators should be seen as -- indeed is -- part of the scientific programmes of the countries in which the participants are based. American scientists working at CERN, in experiments in which they are full and equal partners, contribute to the US particle physics programme, just as, for example, the Italian scientists involved in the CDF experiment at Fermilab contribute to the Italian research programme. With advances in communication, the geographical location of a project is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and it is conceivable that the LHC could be run from a control room at Fermilab or Brookhaven as efficiently as from CERN.

Collaboration is most fruitful when it is driven, bottom up, by the scientists involved, and is seen as a "win-win" situation by all the parties involved. In the case of the Large Hadron Collider, 550 American scientists from over 60 different universities and laboratories are involved in designing and constructing the ATLAS and CMS detectors. They passionately wish to participate in the exciting science (it needs passion to be prepared to commute across the Atlantic!), and they want the LHC to come into operation as soon as possible. We in Europe benefit greatly from the presence of these American scientists: we benefit from their intellectual input and experience, and from their material and human contributions, which will allow the construction of much better experiments than would otherwise have been possible.

US accelerator physicists and engineers also wish to participate in the exciting challenge of constructing the Large Hadron Collider itself. This will allow them to keep at the cutting edge of accelerator related technology, while we will benefit from their expertise. Our accelerator experts greatly look forward to collaborating with their colleagues from Brookhaven, Fermilab and Lawrence Berkeley Lab. The US contribution to the construction of the machine, together with contributions from Canada, Israel, India, Japan and Russia, will allow it to come into operation at full energy three years earlier than would have been possible without these contributions. Again, all parties involved will benefit.

Despite the enthusiasm of all participants, setting up this new international scientific collaboration, involving large numbers of highly qualified people in Europe and the United States, and very large sums of money, has been a daunting task. The discussions have been long and at times difficult. They started with initial explorations of mutual interest, following the publication in May 1994 of the report of the DOE's High Energy Physics Advisory Subpanel (the so-called Drell Report) which recommended major US participation in the LHC project. Formal negotiations began in January 1996 when the members of the CERN delegation arrived, not in Washington but in several different American cities, having been blown off course by one of the worst blizzards in memory -- perhaps a reminder that although we set out to study the workings of Nature, Nature is still very much in control!

I would like to pay tribute to the constructive and good humoured spirit in which our American colleagues from the DOE, the NSF and the high energy physics community participated in these discussions and negotiations. The list is too long for me to name them all, but I would like to single out Martha Krebs and Bob Eisenstein who were the lead negotiators from DOE and NSF respectively. We also had the pleasure of meeting and discussing with many members of Congress and Staffers. We have had a crash-course in the American system of Government. Although at times it seemed to be much more complex than particle physics -- and I am still not sure that I know the answer to the question: who decides in Washington? -- we seem to have survived to the end of the course. For our American colleagues, negotiating with an organisation representing 19 different European countries must also have been confusing at times, and I have come to appreciate Henry Kissinger's frustration when he asked "Who do I call when I want to speak to Europe?".

We have learned some curious facts along the way. The Agreement includes an Annex which contains a non-technical description of the LHC, in which a sober footnote states that "a tera electron volt is a unit of energy used by particle physicists". At one time it went on to say that a tera electron volt is approximately the kinetic energy of a mosquito, and that in the LHC the kinetic energy of seven mosquitoes is packed into a single proton.

This, however, provoked one of our Delegates to complain on the grounds of ambiguity: there are many species of mosquito, and in particular the American mosquito is bigger than the European variety.

In the end, I believe that we have arrived at an excellent agreement, which constitutes an important step forward in international scientific collaboration generally. The LHC will be the first major scientific construction project to be undertaken by a global partnership, involving countries in America, Europe and Asia. This is not only exciting in its own right but will, I hope, provide lessons, and precedents, for collaboration in other fields of science.

The challenge now, after signing the Agreement, is to complete the LHC and its detectors, and carry out the experiments. The US Delegates who we look forward to welcoming for the first time next week, to a CERN Committee of Council meeting, and as Observers at a meeting of the Council, will be given a detailed Progress Report. I am delighted to say that we shall report that the project is in excellent technical shape, and proceeding on schedule and on budget.

Constructing the LHC is a long-term scientific investment, and the last graduate student to get a PhD at ATLAS or CMS has not yet been born! The LHC will be a discovery machine. Results from current physics experiments on both sides of the Atlantic indicate that several golden scientific apples are almost within reach. What gives the particles of matter their mass? Why is there more matter than antimatter in the universe? What is the invisible Dark Matter that accounts for so much of the universe? The LHC will allow young scientists from all over the world to pick these fruits.

The scientific arguments for constructing the LHC are certainly as strong as ever. I am confident that it will provide unique insights into the nature of matter and the structure of the Universe, and look forward with eager anticipation to the first results.

Luciano Maiani

Mr. Secretary, Ambassadors, Authorities, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Cooperation Agreement between the US Government and CERN that we are finalizing today represents, above all, an outstanding success for science. The global participation of advanced countries in the LHC project is a clear indication that Elementary Particle Physics, an activity which originated purely from man's curiosity for Nature, is recognized to be a major driving force in higher education, in the formation of innovative technologies and for the promotion of international collaboration.

Precisely one-hundred years ago, with a table-top apparatus, J.J. Thomson discovered the electron, the first subatomic constituent, the prototype of all elementary particles. Placed at higher energies, by some 10 to 12 orders of magnitude, the LHC project will address fundamental questions for the elementary particles that we know of today, such as the origin of their mass, deeply related to the properties of the early Universe and of the present Universe at large scale. No surprise, then, that the scale of human and financial resources involved has drastically changed since J.J. Thomson's times, and has made such projects possible only with a large international effort. But I can assure you that the ingenuity, enthusiasm and dedication of people, particularly of the young people, involved in these enterprises have remained the same as in the old days!

Making the Agreement has not been an easy matter. Seen in retrospective, this had all but to be expected and the difficulties have been beneficial, after all. The intense discussion which has taken place between the parties, CERN, DOE/NSF, the US Senate representatives, has led to a better mutual understanding ... and to a good text. The ways research is organized in the US and in Europe, and CERN in particular, are so different that many things had to be clarified, straightened up and spelled out clearly, to get to a result that must last for more than 10 years, when most of the people involved in making the agreement will have moved on from their present role. A crucial part, in this process, has been played by the American scientific community, in particular I would like to mention Sidney Drell, who chaired the panel which first recommended the US participation, and the Directors of the National Laboratories, with their generous support in favour of the US joining LHC.

In conclusion, on behalf of the CERN Council, I would like to express our deep satisfaction for the conclusion of the Cooperation Agreement, our gratitude to all parties which have made this important result possible, and wish all of us a good journey together, in the exciting LHC venture.

Last modified 15 December 1997