Tevatron Will Shut Down in FY2011
    By Tommaso Dorigo | January 10th 2011 11:58 AM | 9 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Tommaso

    I am an experimental particle physicist working with the CMS experiment at CERN. In my spare time I play chess, abuse the piano, and aim my dobson...

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    This just in. The Tevatron collider, proud and glory of Fermilab, the leading high-energy lab in the US, will stop collider operations for good at the end of FY2011. This means that CDF and DZERO will collect roughly 1800 additional inverse picobarns, reaching a total of about 10 inverse femtobarns of collected data (the delivered and acquired integrated luminosities differ due to downtimes as well as voluntary dead time of the triggering system).

    I think 10 inverse femtobarns of data are not different from 16 -the amount that the Tevatron could end up producing if it were run until 2014. Of course, the possibility exists that the additional 60% more data would be just what it takes to find the first evidence of a light Higgs boson; but the recent predictions for data collection and centre-of-mass energy of the LHC in 2011 and beyond make it very unlikely that the Tevatron could steal the first Higgs evidence to the CERN experiments.

    I think the best thing to do is to look at the wonderful bounty of scientific advancements that CDF and DZERO have produced with satisfaction rather than regret. These experiments have made history, and they won't be forgotten; but there are two bigger kids in town now, and the advancement of science does not need the Tevatron to run further. Any physics that could be studied with the 60% more data at the Tevatron will be studied in more depth by ATLAS and CMS in the next few years anyway.

    This, at least, is my own opinion. Of course there are also my personal feelings involved: I have been part of CDF since 1992, and it will feel strange to not pay a visit to the Chicago suburbs every once in a while any more. I hope I will have other reasons for the occasional trip there, though: Fermilab will not close down! Further, I was indeed starting to feel split between my participation in CMS and the foot left on the other side of the atlantic. Indeed, the recent suggestion that physicists participating in both Tevatron and LHC experiments should choose what experiment's papers to sign was a show that some felt unjust the privileged position some of us had been keeping. This now will be mended by the termination of the Tevatron operations.

    ... But actually, I believe that CDF and DZERO will continue to publish for at least three or four more years! Analyzing the data takes time, and improving analyses is a worthy occupation. I think I will make a serious attempt at downloading the CDF data in a private disk one day, to grant myself something interesting to do when my retirement days will come...


    Basing the Tevatron shutdown on the anticipated LHC performance is imho quite risky.
    I wish the LHC all the best, but we do not know how it will perform this year.

    Regarding the Higgs searches, the Tevatron is clearly complementary to the LHC,
    so the continued search would be justified in any case. Furthermore (as was discussed
    only a combination of substantially more than 10/fb and an improvement in the analysis efficiency
    could cover the most studied GUT-based versions of the MSSM Higgs sector.

    All in all, I think it is a real pity that the Tevatron will stop operation in fall this year, another missed opportunity.
    My prediction: as with LEP we will see some hints around 115-120 GeV, and we will wait another few years
    for LHC data to resolve it.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but a better example of complementarity between Tevatron and LHC comes from the top/antitop asymmetry already discussed on this blog.
    It is much easier to study at proton-antiproton than at proton-proton machines (it's not impossible but tougher, and the advantage of larger cross section is not enough to fully compensate).

    Correct, Andrea. However, if top asymmetry is all there is to discover (meaning that any new physics does not show up elsewhere), we are all in deep trouble!

    Hi Sven,

    I think that with the planned 8 TeV and few (5? 8?) /fb of the LHC in 2011, plus its possible continuation of the running through mid 2012, the Tevatron experiments were already going to be expendable even on the light Higgs. I never bought the complementarity case -  a real complementarity exists only with a lepton collider right now. As for SUSY, as you know, there is nothing of the kind anyway... ;-)

    Hi Tommaso,

    the possible complementary comes from the different Higgs couplings involved in the production and decay.
    As we know, below 135 GeV (which imho is the most probable mass range ;-) the main decay channel used
    for the "discovery" of the Higgs at the Tevatron is the h -> bb channel, something very important, since it is
    presumably the largest decay mode, and something very difficult at the LHC (and certainly impossible in 2011/12).

    I really hope that the LHC performs as predicted! But I would not bet my salary on it (well, I did bet a bottle of Lagavulin on its performance...). Having the Tevatron running for another three years at a very moderate cost would have been a reasonable decision...

    Cheers, Sven

    It would have been good. But it is not critical for HEP, and in fact with the shortage of moneys, it has been canceled.

    As for H->bb, we are working on it... And I think you underestimate the LHC potential on that channel. We'll see!

    re:Sven - even if LHC requires significantly more data to find a low mass higgs the world wont (hopefully!) come to an end waiting the additional time, even if it is later than 2014.

    The United States spends $190 million A DAY in Afghanistan. This shutdown is a complete disgrace.

    Oh Dave, of course if you allowed a redistribution of money spent by the US across the various departments, there is no question that the Tevatron could continue for another ten years without concern. But once one constrains funds to the real allotments, then suddenly there are tough choices to be made.
    I totally concur that the expense of the US DoD is ridiculous!