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Study of Strongly Interacting Matter

Periodic Report Summary 2 - HADRONPHYSICS2 (Study of strongly interacting matter)

The HADRONPHYSICS2 integrating activity (IA) followed the successful experience of the previous integrating infrastructures initiative HADRONPHYSICS that was funded under the Sixth Framework Programme, which so much promoted the field by bringing together hadron physicists using different tools, such as lepton, hadron and nuclear beams, who previously tended to work separately.

The collaboration among theorists and experimentalists is a typical feature of the hadron physics community. The HADRONPHYSICS2 involveD more than 2 000 scientists active in universities and research organisations. The project was centred around five European research infrastructures offering transnational access and was structured into eight networking activities, plus the management of the consortium, and fourteen joint research activities. Links with leading non-European laboratories and researchers existed and contributed to the activities, whose description could be found in the HADRONPHYSICS2 website at 'http://www.HADRONPHYSICS2.eu'.

The HADRONPHYSICS2 project would improve the performance of the European research infrastructures and would help to maintain their leading role in hadron physics worldwide. The joint research and networking activities would provide advanced instrumentation, concentrate high-level expertise at the research infrastructures involved in the project and strengthen their scientific cooperation with the European universities. Scientists from Europe and outside were anticipated to participate in forefront research performed at the accelerator facilities MAMI in Mainz, Germany, LNF in Frascati, Italy, COSY in Jülich, Germany and GSI in Darmstadt, also in Germany.

The European Centre for Theoretical Studies in Nuclear Physics and Related Areas ECT* in Trento, Italy, hosted numerous workshops and lecture weeks and became a central place for scientific discussions and training and supervision of students and post-docs.

The HADRONPHYSICS2 project put a special emphasis on the preparation of the international Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) in Darmstadt. Several joint research and networking activities were devoted to the development of this experimental and theoretical infrastructure for hadron physics research. This future European research infrastructure would be the major facility for hadron and nuclear physics worldwide and would guarantee the European leadership in these fields of fundamental research for the next generation of scientists.

Another important field of research within the HADRONPHYSICS2 project was the development of advanced theoretical methods aiming at the fundamental understanding of the strong force and of its phenomenological consequences for the hadronic world we live in. The challenge was to describe complex strongly interacting many-body systems, starting from the structure of hadrons up to the dynamics of heavy ion collisions. The theoretical investigations were crucial for the interpretation of measured data and set the stage for key experiments at the research infrastructures. The development of modern theoretical tools for hadron physics required large scale collaborations and high performance computing competence. As a consequence, these activities would provide new insight in the nature of the strong force and a highly innovative computing technology for the European research infrastructures.

The joint research, networking and transnational access activities within the HADRONPHYSICS2 project fostered the worldwide cooperation between leading scientists which is a basic prerequisite for the successful realisation of the technical developments and the theoretical studies. In many cases the European funding via the HADRONPHYSICS2 project initiated the collaborative efforts and, hence, opened new opportunities for synergies because of a combined and efficient use of intellectual and technical resources. The HADRONPHYSICS2 project in particular strengthened the mutual interaction of experimentalists and theorists in Europe. Their collaboration within the joint activities and networks led to a direct exchange of information. Theoretical models were developed and used as input for feasibility studies of planned experiments and the joint discussion on the quantitative interpretation of new experimental observations triggered new ideas needed for a deeper understanding of the underlying physics.

The scientific progress in hadron physics requires novel experimental approaches based on innovative technologies. Future experiments pose extreme challenges to the performance of the involved instrumentation which has to be operated, for example, at huge data rates in harsh radiation environments. Consequently, the technical developments within the HADRONPHYSICS2 project concentrated on radiation hard, highly granulated and fast detectors with very low material budget, on fast and robust readout electronics and on high speed data processing and acquisition systems. These included the development of fast algorithms and software solutions for complex simulations, real-time pattern recognition and event reconstruction and offline data analysis.

The results of the research and development activities were expected to provide a huge potential for application in medical diagnostics and treatment, information technology, safety technology, space research, biology and material science. The involvement of European industrial partners facilitated the direct transfer of know-how from basic research to society.

The HADRONPHYSICS2 project proved to be extremely supportive to national research activities. The fact that institutions received European funding was highly appreciated by their national funding agencies and served as proof for excellence and competitiveness on an international level. Consequently, in many cases the corresponding research activities were additionally supported by national funds.

The HADRONPHYSICS2 project substantially increased both the European impact on and the European benefit from international research infrastructures. The developments and achievements of European groups performed within the joint research and networking activities and contributed to experiments at accelerator facilities outside Europe, significantly enhanced the influence and the relevance of the European research groups for example at JLab and RHIC in United States of America, at J-PARC and SPRING8 in Japan, and at BESIII in China.

A very elementary aspect of the HADRONPHYSICS2 project was to pave the road for a scientific career of young researchers in Europe. A substantial part of the requested funds was spent on postdoc positions for young scientists who would have the primary responsibility for running and exploiting the future facilities. In this sense this initiative also helped to stop the brain drain from Europe to overseas.

The joint research and networking activities within the HADRONPHYSICS2 project comprised more than 2500 scientists from about 150 European institutions and involved a substantial number of institutions from other countries, for example from Russia. In conclusion, the HADRONPHYSICS projects became the major instrument for structuring the European hadron physics community and helped to initiate the partnership between non-European institutes and European research infrastructures on a larger scale.

The main objectives of the HADRONPHYSICS2 project for the use and dissemination of the knowledge derived from the project were the following:

1. to raise the profile of hadron physics
2. to achieve visibility for the project and its findings across Europe and worldwide, both within and outside the scientific community
3. to promote the awareness of science as part of the fabric of society
4. to recruit and encourage the next generation of scientists.

More details about the project were accessible at 'http://www.hadronphysics2.eu'.