The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) figures largely in the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee’s (NSAC) newly released “A New Era of Discovery: The 2023 Long Range Plan for Nuclear Science.” The new plan, released on 4 October, provides a roadmap for advancing the nation’s nuclear science research programs over the next decade. It is the 8th long range plan published by NSAC since 1979.
NSAC is chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and composed of 20 members who represent a range of subject matter expertise in nuclear physics. The major programs, accelerators, instruments, and experiments that enable nuclear physics research in the U.S. are primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). To ensure that these federal investments reflect the national interest, the two agencies regularly solicit input from practicing nuclear physicists through NSAC.
Michigan State University operates the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) as a user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), supporting the mission of the DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics. Hosting what is designed to be the most powerful heavy-ion accelerator, FRIB enables scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security, and industry.
The plan highlights the scientific opportunities of nuclear physics today to maintain world-leadership in the context of four different budget scenarios and details progress since the last long range plan. The document also features the impact of nuclear science on other fields and applications of the research that benefit society.
The plan’s first recommendation affirms that the nuclear science community’s highest priority is to capitalize on the extraordinary opportunities for scientific discovery made possible by the substantial and sustained investments of the United States government. FRIB and its user community and the FRIB Theory Alliance membership are directly impacted by the associated requests for an increase in research funding, the continued effective operations of FRIB, a compensation for graduate researchers commensurate with the cost of living, and the provision of resources to ensure a respectful and safe environment for all.
FRIB400—an energy upgrade to expand the already broad scientific reach of FRIB—is explicitly mentioned in the executive summary following Recommendation IV, which calls for investments in additional projects and new strategic opportunities that advance discovery science. Instruments aspired by the community for FRIB, such as the High Rigidity Spectrometer, the Gamma-Ray Energy Tracking Array, the FRIB Decay Station, and the Isochronous Spectrometer with Large Acceptance, feature in the science section of the long range plan. Read more.
For more information, visit NuclearScienceFuture.org for timely updates on the 2023 planning process.