The Sciences

Most Exciting Discovery

Cosmic VarianceBy JoAnne HewettOct 4, 2005 5:26 AM


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A panel of wise experts has been formed under the auspices of the National Academies. It is dubbed EPP2010 and is charged with evaluating the state of elementary particle physics worldwide in 2010 and constructing a roadmap for US participation in this effort. While my opening statement may sound sarcastic, it is meant quite seriously. This is a group of particle physicists, non-particle physicists, scientists from other disciplines, and technically oriented people. The non-particle types are reputed to have influence in the halls of Congress in ways we can only dream of. The report from this panel will influence funding in particle physics (maybe even carrying over to other areas of basic science) for years to come. The panel has conducted a series of meetings during the course of the year, and we in the particle physics community have done our damned best to impress them. The panel has circulated 2 lists of questions to the community at large. The first list resulted in an official report on the physics case for the International Linear Collider. I was involved in writing that report and will blog about it soon - promise! The second is a less formal set of questions, of which I am also involved in writing a set of answers. One question is just plain fun:

What single discovery would be the most surprising possibility in the next decade?

This question not only involves what we physicists think would be exciting, but what would captivate the imagination of the public? What headline in the newspapers would make people read the article and think about the possibilities? So I am asking for your help, CV readers: what would you consider the most exciting physics discovery in the next decade?

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