"Today, Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary and my science advisor, Jack Gibbons, have given me their recommendations for the B-factory. After much study and serious comparisons of all proposals, the recommendation is that the B-factory go to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC)."
With those words, President Clinton at a press conference in San Francisco on Monday (Oct. 4), launched a $230 million accelerator project which began some five years ago as the idea of LBL deputy director Pier Oddone and is now a major collaboration involving LBL, SLAC, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).
B-factory is the popular name given to Oddone's idea for converting SLAC's Positron-Electron Project collider into an "asymmetric" collider --one in which the two colliding beams of particles are not of equal energies. The purpose of this "PEP- II" collider is to produce copious quantities of B mesons, particles containing a "bottom" quark, the fifth of the six quarks believed to be the fundamental constituents of matter.
Measuring the lifetimes of B mesons and their antiparticle counterparts offers scientists their best opportunity to study differences between matter and antimatter, particularly the phenomenon known as CP violation. This phenomenon is widely believed to be responsible for the fact that during the first split seconds of the Big Bang, the process of creation favored matter over antimatter.
The U.S. Department of Energy included $36 million in its budget proposal for FY94 to begin construction of a B-factory. However, a site was not announced because after the LBL-SLAC-LLNL proposal was made, Cornell University put forth a rival proposal to upgrade their Electron Storage Ring.
Secretary O'Leary, who made the selection, explained her decision in a statement released after the President's announcement.
"The Department of Energy has a much higher margin of confidence in the ability of the Stanford proposal to meet the project's extremely high performance requirements, as well as to meet its proposed cost and schedule."
Said Oddone, in a statement following the President's announcement, "I am delighted that Secretary O'Leary has decided to put the B-factory in the Bay Area. I want to thank her, the President, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the many colleagues who worked together during the review of the two proposals to provide a technically sound basis for this decision.
"I also want to thank the California Commission on Science and Technology, the Governor's office, and our California legislators in Washington, who have all worked together to ensure that our proposal received a fair hearing. This decision gives our three Bay Area laboratories the opportunity to build a world class accelerator and international facility, and continue in the tradition of important discoveries in particle physics started more than six decades ago by E. O. Lawrence. This tradition has been brilliantly maintained at LBL, at SLAC, and at LLNL throughout the intervening years.
"I would also like to salute our colleagues at Cornell University. They have a great laboratory and have given us some very tough competition. We hope that they will join us in building and using this exciting new accelerator."
In making his announcement, President Clinton said that for too long the Federal government has been "denurturing the scientific genius" that resides in California and is a critical component of the state's economy. He included the B-factory as a part of his administration's strategy for reviving California's economy which he said was vital to the economy of the nation.
"I wish you well with the B-factory!" the President exclaimed.
It is estimated that the B-factory will cost $170 million over five years. In addition, a new particle detector will be built at an estimated cost of about $60 million. With Congressional funding approval, construction could begin in later 1993 and operations could begin in 1998.