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Program Advisory Committee (PAC)

What are the JLab PAC Program Summary Workshops and Why Should I Care?

Attached to each of the last three Program Advisory Committee reports ( has been the report of a PAC program summary workshop focusing on one of the five general science topics for JL ab proposals. Those who have taken the time to look into these reports have gained direct insight into what the PAC thinks about physics and ideas about where the PAC sees promising future avenues of research for the laboratory.

Many users are curious about the program summary process. Why does the PAC lock itself away for a day? The workshops serve three basic functions which benefit the laboratory, the PAC itself and the users. The laboratory uses the PAC to provide general advice on a number of issues in addition to the vitally important responsibility of evaluating individual proposals. In the early years of the laboratory this was an essential function in creating the experimental facilities to optimize the physics output of JLab. The workshops let the laboratory management understand how well they are doing in fostering the best research programs. At each of the initially-planned set of workshops one of the five general scientific programs at the laboratory is scheduled for consideration: Few Body Physics (PAC14), Meson and Nucleon Form Factors (PAC15), Properties of Nuclei (PAC16), Strange Quarks (PAC17) and N^* and Meson Properties (to be scheduled). Each of the Hall Leaders describe the approved experiments in their hall in the chosen area and two outside user experts, typically a theorist and an experimentalist, are invited to give their perspective.

While each approved experiment is near and dear to many users' hearts, in the course of 16 PAC meetings 128 proposals have been approved or conditionally approved. Only a truly exceptional PAC member could know them all in detail. The workshops serve t he vital function of educating the PAC members about what experiments are on the books and what physics the users want to do. This sets the stage for understanding the programs already in place and provides a valuable context for the jeopardy review of ex isting proposals.

Finally the PAC has an extended round table discussion of their personal views of the high priority physics in each general area and what new opportunities may offer the best chance of a high scientific payoff. The PAC chair summarizes the opinions exp ressed for the benefit of the laboratory management and for the user community. In the report the users gain insight into how the PAC thinks about physics that cannot be expressed in the reviews of individual proposals. If you disagree with our point of v iew, take this as signal that you might want to work harder to communicate the scientific merit of your ideas. We hope the process will help encourage new proposals for the best physics, but it is never intended to discourage users from submitting proposa ls for the physics they want to do. The workshop discussions are deliberately separated from the proposal discussion to ensure that each proposal is considered carefully on its own merit.

The PAC summary workshops are not a substitute for the extensive user workshops the laboratory encourages to help shape the JLab research program. It is these user workshops where new ideas are examined, critiqued and fleshed out into proposals. Instea d the PAC workshops are a snapshot of the thinking of an expert panel who want to help Jefferson Lab do the best possible physics. The laboratory and the PAC have found they have real value in providing Jefferson Lab with a focused forum for advice on sci ence and for making sure everyone is on the same page of the score. We, the PAC, use the program summary workshops to present our thoughts to the laboratory and to the users. It is you, the users, who write the score of the JLab research symphony. We want your original melodies and your distinctive refrains to sound out loud and clear.

Don Geesaman
PAC17 Chair

Workshop Reports

Workshop Talks

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