Heavy agenda and ambitious plans

Organization, 01 July 2021

The 55th meeting of the Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) for Particle Physics was held online on 21-22 July. PAC Chairman Professor I. Tserruya opened the meeting by requesting a minute of silence in memory of Professor J. Cleymans, PAC member since 2010, who died in a tragic accident on 22 February. JINR Director Academician G. V. Trubnikov spoke about the scientific biography of the scientist, his involvement in JINR’s projects, and contributions made by him to the development of international scientific cooperation. I. Tserruya further presented an overview of recommendations taken at the previous meeting and decisions of the 129th session of the JINR Scientific Council.

Despite the interactive format, the programme of the meeting was almost close to the pre-pandemic level in terms of the number of reports presented. This shows that in the new environment with limited face-to-face communication, scientific life goes on and the projects launched are being implemented at both JINR and other scientific centres. However, some costs are unavoidable and the loss of talented scientists, including heads of subdivisions, founders of scientific fields and heads of departments, is the heaviest one. The report by RAS Corresponding Member V. D. Kekelidze, a JINR Vice-Director, began on a memorial note in honour of the Institute’s staff members who had passed away this year.

V. D. Kekelidze gave an account of the Institute’s current activities, the meeting and the Resolution of the 129th session of the Scientific Council, and the Committee of Plenipotentiaries. He also listed the events that had occurred at the Institute: visits, meetings, presentation of prizes and awards. Among the issues discussed was the development of a new management structure with a view to consolidating intellectual, material, and human resources according to the priorities of the Seven-Year Plan.


Regarding the NICA implementation, reports on the acceleration area, the infrastructure, and the MPD project were traditionally presented. A report on the status of the Nuclotron-NICA project was made by Deputy Head of the Accelerator Division A. O. Sidorin. The PAC members noted the successful completion of installing the beam transportation channel from the Booster to the Nuclotron, at which a technical session had already begun, and the plans for a second run of the Booster in 2021. It was also noted that the delay in finalizing the construction work in the collider’s building No.17 would not affect the start date of the NICA collider operation.

A report on the development of the VBLHEP infrastructure, including the Nuclotron facility, was delivered by VBLHEP Chief Engineer N. N. Agapov. The PAC members noted with satisfaction significant progress made despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic. In particular, they were pleased to note the start of operation of power substations, preparing of a central cryogenic facility, installation of equipment in the new compressor building, and commissioning of key new buildings.

Participants of the meeting appreciated the report on the MPD project implementation made by the collaboration leader A. Kisiel. The PAC was provided with a schedule for magnets assembly, installation and commissioning of main subsystems of the first phase. The vibrancy of the MPD collaboration was also noted: three more organizations have joined it in the meantime. The importance was highlighted of further modeling work aimed at optimizing the detector characteristics, analysis methods, and preparedness for first physical measurements after the launch of the NICA collider.


The evaluation of new projects, as well as those claiming to be continued, was undertaken in line with the recommendations set in three categories by JINR Director G. V. Trubnikov: A, B and C. The ranking is primarily based on the scientific merits of a project and also on the efficiency and contribution of JINR’s team. To that end, the project leaders were proposed a questionnaire prepared by the PAC. The questionnaire, responses to it, and experts’ reports are available on Indico. A final evaluation of each project was made taking into account a reviewer’s opinion and in the light of the subsequent discussion of the project at the PAC meeting.

By order of the JINR Directorate, the projects were extended to the end of the current Seven-Year Plan, that is to the end of 2023. The projects to be included in the next Seven-Year Plan will be automatically extended to the end of the requested period.

The participation of JINR in the T2K-II and Hyper-Kamiokande experiments. The report is presented by DLNP Deputy Director V. V. Glagolev. It was noted that T2K is a first-class leading experiment in the fields of neutrino physics. The team has experience in developing detectors and electronics, data processing, and engineering design; takes part in the development of a platform for a new detector, superFGD, and in the design of a LED calibration system. The JINR team was encouraged to participate in T2K-II with a B rating until the end of 2023. The team should submit a report to the PAC in a year for tracking progress. Possible future involvement in the Hyper-Kamiokande experiment will be discussed separately.

CMS detector. It was presented by VBLHEP Head of the Sector V. Yu. Karzhavin. The aim of the project is to make the detector ready for efficient operation in the environment of the HL-LHC (High Luminosity LHC) with proton-proton collisions. According to the Memorandum of Understanding between CERN and JINR on constructing the CMS detector, the Institute’s team will take part in the design and building of a high-granularity calorimeter and in the upgrade of the forward muon station. The PAC recognizes the importance of JINR’s obligations and recommends approving the participation of the Joint Institute’s team in the second phase of CMS modernization until the end of 2023 with an A rating.


Reports on the projects to be completed in 2021.

BM@N (JINR). Presented by collaboration leader M. N. Kapishin. The team is currently engaged in preparation of detectors, development of data analysis methods, and modeling for forthcoming runs of the BM@N detector with ion beams in 2022. The analysis of the data obtained from irradiation of fixed targets with carbon and argon beams is underway. Concern was expressed about the lack of specialists. However, it was considered important that the BM@N detector operation was successful in the first run of the accelerator complex. The project is recommended to be continued until the end of 2023 with A rating.

COMET (J-PARC). Presented by DLNP Head of the Sector Z. Tsamalaidze. This is an experiment on search for neutrinoless muon-to-electron conversion, in which the lepton number is violated within the Standard Model, and so there can be effects of the so-called New Physics. In accordance with the PAC’s recommendation, JINR scientists have united for more active participation in a single major experiment in this field, and now the team plays a vital part in the development and construction of the main detector subsystems of the COMET facility. It was decided to continue the project until the end of 2023 with rating A.

NA62 (SPS, CERN). Presented by VBLHEP Head of the Sector D. T. Madigozhin. The experiment is aimed at measuring a very rare decay of the kaon to a pion and a pair of neutrinos and at verifying the Standard Model by measuring the Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa matrix element with an accuracy of 10 %. The PAC members commended the results of the analysis of data arrays in 2016-2018, which led to the observation of 20 possible rare-decay events and to the publication of first results. JINR has significantly contributed to the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the spectrometer, software development, data collection, and analysis, as well as to the expansion of the NA62 scientific programme. The PAC points out that the data collection of the NA62 experiment should be completed by the end of 2023 with rating B.

ALPOM-2 (JINR). Presented by a VBLHEP senior researcher N. M. Piskunov. The project’s main objective is to expand measurements of the analyzing power in scattering reactions of polarized neutrons at various targets at the highest momenta attainable at the Nuclotron: 7.5 GeV/c for protons and 6.0 GeV/c for neutrons. The authors have plans to upgrade the detector by increasing its acceptance and improving the reconstruction of small-angle tracks. Participants of the PAC meeting congratulated the ALPOM-2 team on successful completion of the data analysis and publication of the results, supported the development plan for this experiment, and recommended to continue ALPOM-2 until the end of 2023 with rating A.

STAR (RHIC). Presented by VBLHEP Head of the Division Yu. A. Panebrattsev. JINR’s team has been involved in the STAR experiment since the beginning of the project and has contributed to the development and maintenance of front-end and cylindrical electromagnetic calorimeters, the preparation of a new detector, software development, and data analysis. According to participants of the event, however, the influence and visibility of JINR’s team in terms of leadership in the collaboration, the number of publications and research papers are not commensurate with the large team size over the past three years. The PAC members stated that the experience gained by the team is relevant for the NICA project, and the STAR experiment will complete the phase of data collection within a few years. Therefore, it was recommended to continue JINR’s participation in the experiment until the end of 2023 with rating B, with the focus being gradually shifted towards the NICA experiments.

DSS (at the internal target of the Nuclotron). Presented by Associate Professor of the University of Zilina (Slovak Republic) M. Janek. The experiment focuses on the study of the spin structure of short-range correlations 2N and 3N. The PAC notes a significant contribution of JINR’s team to hardware and software development and data analysis, as well as several publications heavily contributed to by JINR. The team is planning an upgrade of the DSS facility, mostly concerning the proton polarimeter development. The PAC supports these plans and recommends continuing the DSS experiment until the end of 2023 with rating B.

HADES (GSI). Presented by VBLHEP Head of the Sector V. P. Ladygin. The main objective of the experiment is to study the properties of dense nuclear matter being produced during the collision of heavy ions at the SIS-18 accelerator of GSI. The PAC acknowledges the contribution made by JINR to hardware, software development and data analysis, and notes a relatively small size of JINR’s team, relevance of HADES and CBM for the physics programmes of MPD and BM@N, as well as possible synergy between these experiments. The PAC supports the plans to merge JINR teams involved in HADES and CBM into a single one that are focused on the research programme of the CBM experiment. The PAC recommends continuing JINR’s participation in the HADES experiment until the end of 2023 with rating B.

NA61 (SPS, CERN). Presented by a VBLHEP junior researcher A. V. Dmitrieva. The PAC notes new results and the participation of JINR’s team in upgrading the facility, as well as the importance of NA61 for the NICA project and the possible benefit of training young researchers for NICA as part of the NA61 experiment. It was recommended to continue the involvement in the NA61 experiment until the end of 2023 with rating B.

The PAC heard a progress report on the project “The precision laser metrology for accelerators and detector complexes” presented by DLNP Head of the Sector M. V. Lyablin. The project is intended to develop precision instruments for recording microseismic events. The PAC members noted that the PLI (Precision Laser Inclinometer) is used for earthquake prediction, and supported the team’s participation in monitoring angular microseismic inclinations of the Earth’s surface for the colliders NICA, LHC, and FCC, as well as its use for the Einstein Telescope project (a third-generation gravitational wave detector being developed jointly by a number of European organizations). The PAC recommends the continuation of this project until the end of 2023 with rating A.

The PAC also took note of written reports on the ARIEL and HyperNIS projects for the period 2019-2021 presented respectively by Head of the DLNP Sector L. V. Kalinovskaya and Head of the VBLHEP Sector D. O. Krivenkov.

The PAC took into consideration and approved reports on the scientific results obtained by JINR’s teams in the LHC experiments: ALICE presented by Head of the VBLHEP Sector B. V. Batyunya, ATLAS reported on by a DLNP senior researcher V. V. Lyubushkin, and CMS presented by a VBLHEP leading researcher M. V. Savin.

Yu. G. Kudenko from the INR RAS made a scientific report “Modern and future neutrino accelerator experiments”, and the members of the PAC thanked him for this very interesting presentation.

The next meeting of the PAC for Particle Physics is scheduled for 24-25 January 2022.

Galina Myalkovskaya
JINR Weekly Newspaper