Re: Options?

From: Janet Conrad (
Date: Wed Apr 19 2006 - 10:25:13 CDT

Also it may be relevant to know that Daya Bay is being asked to cut from
$30M to $20M.
And that apparently Robin Staffin has made the statement that there will
be less than or equal
to one reactor experiment supported by the United States. I find it
hard to believe he has
any intention of investing to make Daya Bay better.

Hahn, Richard wrote:

> A piece of news relevant to your note: Yesterday, the U.S. Daya Bay collaboration received a letter from OHEP , stating that it will receive R&D funding.
>From: Steve Biller []
>Sent: Wed 4/19/2006 7:50 AM
>To: Braidwood Collaboration
>Subject: Options?
> Braidwood colleagues,
> A hallmark of our collaboration has been our very thorough exploration
>of parameter space. In this spirit, I'd like to at least consider the
>of two of the potential options aside from walking away. This probably
>has as much to do with a means of venting some of my frustration as
>anything else. But, what the hell, like you, I've got plenty to vent...
>OPTION A: Digging in (or 'Give War a Chance')
> I confess this one is probably most inspired by those immortal lines
>from 'Animal House':
>"This calls for a really stupid, futile gesture on someone's part."
>"We're just the guys to do it!"
>but let's play anyway...
>Assets at our disposal:
>Ours is the strongest scientific proposal. Staffin is sufficiently scared
>of a proper peer review that he has not given us due process. Whether
>there is a logistical reason for this move is immaterial -> we should
>have the right to a proper scientific review. Further note that Daya Bay
>is still not yet approved.
>First objective: Force a peer review
>Plan of Attack (operation 'Stuff Staffin'):
>1) Continue to bombard P5, hepap, NuSAG and anyone else with appeals.
>Engage Double-Chooz and others to do the same. Get university presidents,
>Exalon etc. to also write letters. Get other international colleagues
>who have been similarly dumped by the US without warning to get involved.
>2) Give talks at departments and conferences. Half on the virtues of
>Braidwood and half on the politics being exercised by DOE.
>3) Openly attack the deficiencies in Daya Bay. Their detector design is
>less silly than before, but it's still silly and we know the US guys
>can't do anything about this. Attack that and keep asking why they don't
>do something more sensible. Ask why the US doesn't seem to have any
>influence on such critical issues and whether they will always be
>the 'B' analysis, second to the Chinese. Ask what the middle detector
>site buys them and about the necessity of digging kilometers of tunnels.
>They plan on using a water shield for neutrons - ask about the logistics
>of the 'water plugs' and transporting kilotonnes of water through the
>tunnels to 4 different sites and then redoing this when they
>their detectors. Couch some of this in a positive light: "In Braidwood,
>we also have the advantage of not having to cross 10 time zones to have
>conference calls or fly for 14 hours to attend a collaboration meeting.
>We would actually have control over our experiment and help invigorate
>science in the US for a change. And all for a price that's probably less
>than what the US would spend on Daya Bay."
>4) Contact newspapers, write articles, give interviews on how the US
>to export its science, how all the big breakthroughs are happening in
>other countries, how scientists in the US are getting disillusioned
>and how some are leaving the field or leaving the country. How money is
>being thrown to foreign countries when that very same money could
>be invested in the declining US programme to produce world-class physics.
>How recognised leaders in the field have actually been denied peer review.
>If we cannot get $1M in seedcorn funding from DOE, try to scrape together
>what we can to put together a decent proposal. We've got something like
>~$150K plus workshop and design office time in the UK which could most
>be redirected toward some of the more critical items. Perhaps some of the
>US universities could kick in something in the way of seedcorn to try
>to boost things to near half the request? Brookhaven is, in some sense,
>already now funded to do the chemistry... could we do something with this?
> It is true that, even after all this, Staffin could just say 'no.'
>But the indefensible nature of this act would be clearly exposed and he
>is obviously sufficiently uncomfortable with this that he is trying
>to block peer review. We are known and respected members of the community
>and if we continued to fight in a very visible manner, we could make
>things a lot more uncomfortable.
>OPTION B: Defining our terms
>What would it take to make Daya Bay palatable to us?
>Aside from the logistics of China and the fact that the site isn't ideal,
>the main concern is the lack of control. Peter's experience from working
>with these guys suggests it would be about as bad as it gets, with us
>having little or no influence over detector design, operation or
>analysis (sure, we'd have our own simulations etc., but it'd always
>be the 'B' analysis which could be brushed aside without discussion).
>We've alreadly witnessed one blood-letting over differences of
>opinion (and, whatever it was, I'm sure Stuart was probably right).
>The shot-gun nature of the 'collaboration' would only make things
>worse, as there is no alternative and the Chinese don't have to pay
>attention to anything we do or say. We'd need something to hold over
>them to force a true collaborative effort. The plan is for multiple
>detectors at each site. So, what we need is to have total control
>over half of them: our design, our construction, our analysis.
>This is, indeed, certainly in keeping with the idea of redundant
>measurements etc. which is recognised as so important to the field
>and it also makes a sensible division of East/West efforts in terms of
>coordination. Of course, we don't have any stick to force this to
>happen... but Staffin does. We could go to him with our concerns,
>indicating why we think there's a high probability it would be a total
>disaster, either in the form of yet more collaboration splits and
>in-fighting and/or in the production of an anamolous, crap result.
>We could even show him our alternative option 'A' which we're considering.
>In order to settle things, he might agree to force the Chinese to
>consent to this, threatening to not to fund Daya Bay and to put
>Braidwood back on the agenda.
>Well, that's my best shot. Personally, I really like 'option A,' but
>then you're not catching me in the best of weeks...
> - Steve

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