On 28 January a 21-member subpanel of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC) charged with making tough choices for US nuclear physics presented its recommendations. Without more money, one of the field’s three main facilities will have to be shut down; the subpanel fingered the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory. (The solenoid tracker, pictured below, is one of RHIC’s two major detectors.)

But the subpanel noted that with a “modest” annual increase of 1.6% above inflation in the nuclear sciences budget, all three facilities could continue, with RHIC and the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at Jefferson Lab in Virginia running on reduced schedules and construction proceeding on the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University. The Department of Energy and NSF charged NSAC with revisiting the field’s priorities last year, when President Obama’s budget request for nuclear physics in fiscal year 2013...

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