RHIC & AGS Proposal Submission Procedure

A proposal for an experiment at RHIC or the AGS should be submitted to the Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics, presently Steve Vigdor, Bldg. 510F, Brookhaven National Laboratory, P.O. Box 5000, Upton, NY 11973-5000 [Tel: (631) 344-5397; vigdor@bnl.gov ], who has the responsibility for all decisions regarding the program. The proposal will receive a prompt preliminary assessment to verify that adequate physics justification is given for the time requested, and to uncover substantive deficiencies, errors and omissions. If the proposal is deficient, it will be returned to the spokesperson with suggestions for changes. The revised proposal may be resubmitted and will be reconsidered as soon as possible. Proposals which are accepted will be distributed to the Nuclear and Particle Physics (NPP) Program Advisory Committee (PAC) for consideration at their next meeting.

Letters of intent are welcomed as an aid to long-range planning and are distributed to the PAC.

Proposal Preparation

A somewhat standard format for experimental proposals has been adopted with the objective of ensuring that all the needed information is included, thus simplifying the work of the PAC. Electronic submission is preferred. The suggested form should not result in restricting the proposer’s freedom of presentation. Two essential elements are the cover page and the one-page summary.

The cover page should contain:

  • A short descriptive title of <30 words, <15 if possible.
  • A list of all the experimenters and their affiliations, on which the name(s) of the spokesperson(s) is/are underlined. Telephone numbers, postal and e-mail addresses for the spokesperson(s) should be given. The spokesperson(s) must be empowered to speak on behalf of the collaboration.
  • A statement of the basic requirements: (a) type or number designation of beam or interaction region, momentum range, particles, flux or luminosity; (b) detector types; (c) computer network requirements; (d) number of beam hours (data-taking and testing).

The above material will provide a brief description of the experiment for the PAC and information for the periodically distributed lists of AGS/RHIC experiments.

The second page should be a one-page summary of the proposal, including the physics goals and their importance, the technique, and the facilities to be used. These summaries are a valuable source of information about the AGS/RHIC program and play an important role in various program reviews.

The body of the proposal should include the following information, preferably in the order shown.

  • A detailed description of the purpose of the experiment, the significance of the physics involved, a comparison with other experiments, and the results expected.
  • A description of the method and apparatus, justification of the time requested, and a statement of when the experiment is expected to be ready to go on the floor. Pertinent drawings are very helpful.
  • Particular mention of any equipment, materials or consumables that might be considered hazardous or threats to the environment.
  • Special or unusual requirements: Beams, targets, magnets, rigging, etc.
  • Computing support needed from the RHIC Computing Facility (RCF) and any additional network connections.
  • The commitment of the experimenters to successfully carry out the proposed work.
  • Any additional comments that the proposers think are needed.

Requests for extensions of ongoing experiments are treated in much the same manner as new proposals. However, the written request should concentrate on:

  • Technical progress.
  • Physics data.
  • Reasons why more time is needed to accomplish the original physics goals.
  • Additional physics goals, if any.
  • Planned changes in the experimental setup.

The proposal is considered a public document and will be posted on the web. Requests for copies should be directed to the spokesperson.

Users contemplating an experiment at the AGS or RHIC should consult with the Collider-Accelerator (C-A) Department Experimental Support and Facilities (ES&F) Head, presently Phil Pile (Tel: (631) 344-4643; pile@bnl.gov ), in the early stages of preparing an experimental proposal. At this point it is very useful to have a general discussion of the research plans and what is available from BNL for special requirements such as spectrometer magnets, cryogenic targets, electronic equipment, and radiation shielding. Secondary beam specialists, as well as mechanical, cryogenic, and electrical engineers, expert in experimental planning, are available for advice.

Consideration of Proposals

The NPP Program Advisory Committee (PAC) is appointed by the Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics. It is presently composed of 12 members, each of whom generally serves for three years. Most of the members are from universities or laboratories other than BNL. The Associate Director appoints a chair. Several ex officio members, including the Secretary, also attend the meetings to provide general information or advice on resources. DOE and NSF representatives often attend as observers. Meetings are generally held once or twice each year (fall, spring). The PAC, as a whole, considers the scientific merit as well as the technical feasibility of proposed experiments. A subcommittee is appointed for each proposal to examine it in detail. The subcommittee chair is expected to contact the proposal spokesperson before the PAC meeting to give the proposers an opportunity to clear up any unresolved questions.

The deadline for a proposal is six weeks prior to the date of the PAC meeting at which it will be considered. This is essential to provide sufficient time for the subcommittee to be appointed, study the proposal, talk with the proposers, report to the PAC, and for the PAC to study the proposal along with the subcommittee’s report. Concurrently the ES&F Division of the C-A Department must have time to study the technical and logistic requirements of the proposal.

After submission of the proposal, the spokesperson(s) should contact the ES&F Division Head to arrange a general discussion of the design of the experiment. This discussion will provide the Division Head with the information needed to prepare an impact statement for the PAC which describes the resources required for mounting and servicing the proposal. It must take place at least two weeks prior to the PAC meeting at which the proposal is to be considered. The impact statement will also be provided to the spokesperson(s) before the PAC meeting.

PAC meetings are normally scheduled for two days. The first day includes an open session for the presentation of proposals. An additional open session may be scheduled for the second day if needed. Anyone from the high energy or nuclear physics community may attend an open session, which is open to discussion and questions from the floor. The PAC then considers the proposals in closed session. Occasionally a proposer may be asked to stay for this session.

The major criteria used in the consideration of a proposal are: (1) physics merit; (2) technical feasibility; (3) demands on the experimental program; (4) size and experience of the experimental group; (5) demands on supporting services and resources; and (6) budget considerations.

Following consideration by the PAC, proposals will in general be granted scientific approval, deferred or rejected. Approval will generally follow further consideration by the Associate Director for schedule and funding feasibility which must be discussed with funding agency sponsors. Some proposals may need an independent technical review or further discussion at a subsequent PAC meeting.

Following approval, each new or upgraded experiment must execute a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Laboratory that specifies all the important mutual responsibilities between the collaboration and the Laboratory relevant to carrying out the experiment. Helpful examples of such a document can be provided by the C-A Department as a guideline in preparation of the new MOU.

The Associate Director, in consultation with the C-A Department staff, establishes scheduling priorities. The order of submission or approval of proposals does not establish priority.

Questions regarding the PAC meeting dates, agenda, proposal deadlines, etc. should be addressed to the PAC Secretary, presently Peter Yamin (Tel: (631) 344-4949; yamin@bnl.gov ).

Publication Requirements

Two copies of any published papers resulting from work at the AGS or RHIC must be sent to the ES&F Division secretary, currently Penny Lo Presti, Bldg. 911B, Brookhaven National Laboratory, PO Box 5000, Upton, NY 11973-5000. One copy is filed in the C-A Department, and one copy is required by the DOE for patent clearance. Please write the AGS/RHIC experiment number on the first page of the manuscript.

The laboratory management views this collection of AGS/RHIC publications as very important. Failure to cooperate with this requirement will reflect unfavorably on any future proposals.

Press releases dealing in any way with work done at BNL must be reviewed by the BNL Public Affairs prior to release.

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Last Modified: May 28, 2010
Please forward all questions about this site to: Peter Yamin