The Super-Kamiokande experiment, using a gigantic water filled detector, began operation over 2 years ago in April, 1996. Today, we announced that evidence has been found for non-zero neutrino mass (See attached, EVIDENCE FOR MASSIVE NEUTRINOS). This important physics result follows from our precise measurement of the composition of atmospheric neutrinos. We will continue our observations and will study the details which may clarify the role of the mysterious neutrinos in elementary particle physics and in the universe.
In addition, we will continue to study the characteristics of electron-neutrinos from the sun; we will maintain a vigilant watch for neutrino bursts arising from supernovae explosions within our galaxy; and we will search for proton decay to the longest lifetimes ever probed experimentally. We expect results from these studies to be as significant as the present finding of finite neutrino mass through our study of atmospheric neutrinos.
The sensitive measurements being made by Super-Kamiokande require continuous operation of the detector facility to obtain maximum efficiency for acquiring data. This is essential if important new physics results are to be achieved. Unfortunately, due to the financial difficulty of the Japanese government, the operating funds for Super-Kamiokande have been reduced by 15% for the present fiscal year. This is a serious budget cut for the experiment and may require us to cease operation for up to 2 months this year.
An additional 15% cut back is expected in the next fiscal year, resulting in a 30% reduction compared to the JFY97 budget. Under these circumstances, we will have no option but to stop the operation of the experiment and make no observations for a certain time, perhaps as long as 4 months. We regret that these cuts in government funds are being applied equally, across-the-board, to all institutions, without consideration of the relative scientific importance of the projects or the devastating impact that such cuts may have.
Super-Kamiokande has begun to produce physics results which will require changes in our standard pictures of particle physics and the universe. More results are expected with continued operation of the experiment. Budget cuts which stop the detector operation, jeopardize the strength of the international collaboration and could result in the loss of important observations, such as a rare supernova event. The U.S. collaborators are requesting that ICRR, The University of Tokyo, make every effort not to interrupt the experiment. We ask everyone to understand the importance of this international collaboration for obtaining new observations in basic physics research. We appeal for continuous operation support for Super-Kamiokande.