TF NSF Review
Prepare and submit your proposal review through FastLane. In the Proposal Review Form, we ask for you to do the following:
- Comment in detail on the quality of the proposal
- Provide an overall rating of the proposal
- Identify the proposal’s strengths and weaknesses for each NSF Merit Review Criterion:
-What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity? -What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
- Provide a summary statement that includes the relative importance of the two criteria in assigning your rating. (You do not have to weigh the criteria equally.)
The Proposal Review Form also asks you to do the following:
- Indicate any potential conflicts of interest that you might have in evaluating the proposal (optional if no conflict of interest exists).
- Recommend any other qualified reviewers for this proposal (optional).
The PI proposes a program of spin physics at JLab involving both parity violation and nucleon spin structure measurements. The physics in this proposal falls under recommendation I in the NSAC long range plan from 2007. The PI has a published record in spin physics and is a spokesperson on a proposal to use an energy upgraded JLab for parity violation measurements. There was not a clear indication that the PI has the experience to carry out the design and construction of the calorimeter mentioned as one of the proposals objectives. The partnership with JLab has the potential to provide the PI with sufficient resources to conduct most of the work in this proposal.
The PI indicates that the proposal will support at least two members of an underrepresented group where at least one is a non-national. The PI mentions the training of at least 3 Ph.D. students working on the same experiment and one undergraduate student. The PI has reported her spin structure work in several journals and other narrow audience publications but there has not been any indication of reaching out beyond that group to a more general audience. The PI is continuing her effort to collaborate beyond the US borders but it is not clear if that is within the spirit of a broader impact that the NSF would like to sponsor through the program the proposal was submitted to.
The PI proposes to focus on improving the He-3 target luminosity but does not give any details on an approach to accomplish this goal. The PI also proposes to design and construct an electromagnetic calorimeter. The PI's Bio sketch did not indicate any experience in constructing such devices. The PI does report that the groups post doc and students have some experience configuring a data acquisition system and making deadtime measurements, but there is no indication of the group having experience in detector design in general or calorimetry in particular. Fund are requested for purchasing computers to perform simulation work in the design of the SoLID detector package. It was unclear why such an expense is justified given that JLab has a large computing facility for simulations such as this.
The PI proposes to perform measurements of muon capture on the proton and deuteron which are sensitive to a pseudoscalar form factor of the hadron current probed during charged-current weak-interaction. These measurements are described in the "Weak Probes of Nuclear Physics" section of the 2007 NSAC long range plan. The measurements in this proposal, however, do not fall directly under any of the the four recommendations in that plan. An argument could be made that the pursuit of the neutrino physics program in recommendation III may lead to a need for stronger constraints of the low-energy constant L1A. The PI did not identify how the proposed measurements fit into the recommendations made in the NSAC long range plan.
The PI's goal with this proposal is to sponsor two undergraduate students for a full year in a physics based research project at a predominantly undergraduate institution which does not have a physics program. The NSF's broader impacts lists the "mentoring of future scientists not directly related to nuclear science education and research, in particular, the mentoring of men and women within traditionally underrepresented and disadvantaged groups", as one of its criterion. The PI specifically identifies the above criterion in his broader impacts statement and claims that he will employ undergraduate students from fields outside of physics such as biology, chemistry, computer science and others.
The PI will use the support from this proposal to participate in the MuCap experiment at the Paul Scherrer Institute and develop on-board cryogenic low noise amplifiers for the MuSun collaboration. The MuSun collaboration appears to have chosen to deploy room temperature preamplifiers instead of adopting the "challenging" development of cryogenic amplifiers, according to the support letter from the MuSon US spokesperson. The letter also states that the MuSun collaboration's Russian colleagues have expressed interest. Based on the above statements from the US MuSun spokesperson, it is not clear if the PI will play a critical role in the development of hardware for the MuSun collaboration. The PI teaches 3 classes per semester, it would be difficult for the PI to contribute to MuSun during the school year with this workload. An argument is not made by the PI to explain why the unique properties of the helium liquefier facility at the University of Illinois which warrant its use rather than using a facility closer to the PI's home institution such as NIST in Boulder, Colorado.