TF NSF Review

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Review Criteria:

Prepare and submit your proposal review through FastLane. In the Proposal Review Form, we ask for you to do the following:

  1. Comment in detail on the quality of the proposal
  2. Provide an overall rating of the proposal
  3. 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?

  1. 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:

  1. Indicate any potential conflicts of interest that you might have in evaluating the proposal (optional if no conflict of interest exists).
  2. Recommend any other qualified reviewers for this proposal (optional).


Intellectual Merits

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.

Broader impacts

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.

Summary statement

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.


Intellectual Merits

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.

Broader impacts

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.

Summary statement

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.



Intellectual Merits

The PI proposes to continue a research program with the PHENIX collaboration at Brookhaven National Lab using the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. The proposed research seeks to determine the gluon contribution to the nucleon's spin by measuring the double longitudinal spin asymmetry of inclusive eta production by scattering polarized protons on polarized protons. This work is complementary to measurements made with the pi-zero channel. The PI predicts that measurements made in 2011, when combined with previous measurements, will be able to distinguish between a GSRV fit that assumes the maximum gluon polarization, however, the constraints on the standard GSRV fit may not be appreciable until the hadron's transverse momentum is much less than than 4 GeV/c.

The efforts are focused on analyzing the PHENIX data set for the purpose of extracting eta asymmetries and cross sections as well as some hardware work involving Resistive Plate Chambers (RPCs) for a forward trigger detector station. The PI has a publication record indicating an involvement in previous p+p based high energy collider measurements, but does not appear to have a record searching for eta resonances. The PI does provide graphs in Figure 5 of the proposal suggesting the observance of an eta resonance, it was assumed that this is a result of the PI's analysis but it was not clearly stated in the proposal. The PI indicates that an asymmetry analysis of the eta channel will soon be published as a direct result of the PI's work. The PI is a member of the PHENIX forward tracking upgrade group which is scheduled to install a second RPC system (RPC-1) before 2012. The PI is working on background simulations for a small subgroup within the tracking upgrade group and indicates that the PHENIX collaboration will send RPCs to the PI's home institution for study. The GSU contribution to the RPC effort is claimed but no specific details were given to indicate their specific role in the RPC-1 effort except for a simulation role. My interpretation is that they will be involved in the assembly of RPC's at Brookhaven and in quality assurance procedures based on their RPC test stand experiences from 2005 to the present. The proposal however only states that they will be developing detector assembly and assurance procedures.

Broader impacts

The PI intends to involve undergraduates in the operation of the PHENIX RPC full size proto-type detectors and in the construction of smaller scale RPCs. There is also the promise of loaning detectors to local high school teachers and student to conduct cosmic ray tests. A power point presentation by A. Glenn for the PHENIX collaboration did show an RPC test stand at GSU dated 2006. I wonder why haven't students been involved over the past 4 years. There was a statement that high school students and teachers are already involved, but no details on the level of participation. Will high schools allow the RPC gas and associated HV to be in their classrooms? The gas R134A has inhalation hazards which some schools may not want to have on campus.

Summary statement

The proposal request support for one PI and 2 graduates students for the purpose of analyzing PHENIX data and taking shifts. A program of testing RPC proto-types by graduate students, undergraduates, and high school teachers is proposed but the details of the PIs ability to do this are only vaguely described in the description of the GSU laboratory. I can only assume that the group has been performing these studies since 2005 at GSU and questions continue to be raised after 4 years of testing. It was not clearly stated what issues may remain and how the addition of a full size RPC will further their understanding of the RPC system.