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The Japanese Beam Physics Club and Its Recent Activities

Hiromi Okamoto
Accelerator Laboratory
Nuclear Science Research Facility Institute for Chemical Research
Kyoto University
Gokanoshou, Uji, Kyoto 611, Japan3mm

A club for beam physics has been established in Japan. In the following, I would like to make a brief report on the purposes and present activities of the club.


Recent remarkable progress of accelerator technologies has opened up new possibilities for diverse applications of charged-particle and photon beams. Particle beams generated by accelerators are now becoming an essential tool in various fields including fundamental physics, applied physics, engineering, medical science, industry, etc. In fact, a number of accelerator projects are now going on in Japan and, at the same time, several future projects based on extremely advanced accelerators are also being considered. Accelerator physicists are then expected to provide very high-quality beams which meet a variety of users' requirements. Since some physical breakthrough might often be needed to attain such advanced, challenging beams, it is getting more and more crucial to have a clear understanding of the fundamental properties of beams themselves. In addition, particle beams have sometimes exhibited new features of physics, which convinces us that the ``beam'' itself should be an important, interesting, and exciting object of physics and thus deserves serious scientific and academic studies. Without such activities, future high-performance machines will not be realized. Nevertheless, it seems that most Japanese researchers (outside and even inside the accelerator community) tend to think of modern accelerators simply as a collection of technologies and, therefore, do not well understand the importance and necessity of beam science as a branch of physics. For example, as far as I know, there are almost no universities where an undergraduate course in beam physics has been arranged in the physics department. Further, in the regular meetings of the Japanese Physical Society, talks concerning accelerators and beams have been distributed to several different branches, based on the purposes of the accelerators; namely, some people give talks in high energy physics session, some others are forced to go to nuclear physics session or material science session, and so on.

Another problem likely to impede the promotion of beam physics in Japan is that almost all accelerator researchers are working only at a few big laboratories for some particular machines. This naturally makes them very project-oriented. In most cases, they are strongly required to design or construct something immediately usable for their own machines, rather than to think about physics. Outside these laboratories, there exists a small number of accelerator physicists mostly working at universities, but they have more or less suffered from limited budget and limited manpower. All these physicists are usually independent of each other and only have restricted communication through a technical collaboration for some project. Of course, we have a few regular symposiums on accelerators;e.g., Symposium on Accelerator Science and Technology held every two years, Linear Accelerator Meeting held every year, etc., but, in these meetings, the stress has been put upon technological issues, status reports of many laboratories, and design considerations of accelerators for particular projects.

To improve this situation and to promote beam physics studies and academic collaboration between laboratories and universities, we are now in the process of constructing an initial small provisional organization for beam physics in Japan based on the consensus that beam physics is definitely of future importance. The preliminary members of the Japanese beam physics club currently involves about fifty physicists excluding graduate students: A. Ando (Himeji Inst. of Technology), I. Endo (Hiroshima Univ.), A. Goto (RIKEN), K. Hirata (KEK), N. Imanishi (Kyoto Univ.), M. Inoue (Kyoto Univ.), S. Kamada (KEK), Y. Kamiya (Univ. of Tokyo), T. Katayama (Univ. of Tokyo), N. Kumagai (SPring-8), Y. Mori (Univ. of Tokyo), T. Nakazato (Tohoku Univ.), Y. Nishida (Utsunomiya Univ.), K. Oide (KEK), H. Okamoto (Kyoto Univ.), K. Sato (Osaka Univ.), K. Yokoya (KEK), ... At present, the main activities of the committee should be:

  1. getting enough budget from the Japanese government for beam physics research,
  2. advertising the purpose and importance of the "physics of beams",
  3. planning discussion meetings and symposiums on beam physics,
  4. promoting education in beam physics and accelerator technology in universities, and
  5. advising on future accelerator designs.

For (3), we started the "Beam Physics Meeting" this year. This meeting gives us an opportunity to study issues of future interest, apart from technical problems for particular machines. In addition, we encourage graduate students to attend and give talks in the meeting. The first meeting was held at the Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University in March 1996, and the second meeting at SPring-8 in November 1996. The following are the title of the talks given in the last two meetings:

We have currently limited the number of participants, i.e., less than around forty including students, in order for everybody to join discussions (Another reason is the very limited budget.), but we would like to increase the number gradually and make this meeting grow to a larger workshop eventually.

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ICFA Beam Dynamics Newsletter, No. 11, August 1996