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Physicists Plan to Build a Bigger LHC

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the type-thirteen-planet dept.

Science 263

ananyo writes "When Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) started up in 2008, particle physicists would not have dreamt of asking for something bigger until they got their US$5-billion machine to work. But with the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson, the LHC has fulfilled its original promise — and physicists are beginning to get excited about designing a machine that might one day succeed it: the Very Large Hadron Collider. The giant machine would dwarf all of its predecessors (see 'Lord of the rings'). It would collide protons at energies around 100 TeV, compared with the planned 14TeV of the LHC at CERN, Europe's particle-physics lab near Geneva in Switzerland. And it would require a tunnel 80-100 kilometres around, compared with the LHC's 27-km circumference. For the past decade or so, there has been little research money available worldwide to develop the concept. But this summer, at the Snowmass meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota — where hundreds of particle physicists assembled to dream up machines for their field's long-term future — the VLHC concept stood out as a favorite."

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Call it... (5, Funny)

cptnapalm (120276) | about 10 months ago | (#45412705)

the BFHC?

Re:Call it... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#45412745)

The name doesn't matter, it's all about bigger bang for the buck. ;-)

Re:Call it... (2)

DroolTwist (1357725) | about 10 months ago | (#45413175)

How about the THC? (titanic hadron collider)

Re:Call it... (2)

Another, completely (812244) | about 10 months ago | (#45413209)

But if all the scientists and engineers are going to work on THC, will they get anything done?

Re:Call it... (1)

DroolTwist (1357725) | about 10 months ago | (#45413491)

Probably not, but I doubt they'll care.

Re: Call it... (3, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 10 months ago | (#45413597)

BADFFR

Big ass distractin from fusion research

I mean, the LHC was a neat project, but what practical benefits to humanity have come from it? Knowledge is great, but the Higg's discovery isn't solving the problems the world faces.

I know money and research into our energy needs could come from lots of places, but when I see massive facility of extreme high tech, employing thousands of physicists and researchers with international funding and support, and Billions of dollars budget, I can't help but think a similar problem with much greater utility is being neglected to all of our detriment.

Re:Call it... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45412871)

I prefer "HHC" - Humongous Hardon Collider.

Re:Call it... (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 10 months ago | (#45412887)

Your Freudian slip is showing.

.

HAHA SUCKERS! (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about 10 months ago | (#45413051)

meanwhile, in the great state of Texas, we have a very large hole with nothing to show for the effort. YAY JESUSLAND!

Re:Call it... (2)

drainbramage (588291) | about 10 months ago | (#45413035)

Call me when they get to the Ludicrous Collider.

Re:Call it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412943)

Hey now, no need to add insult to injury, to the taxpayers on the receiving end...

Re:Call it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412949)

Hah. The Very Very Very Very Very Large Hadron Collider.

Re:Question... (2)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 10 months ago | (#45413159)

At what percentage of C would a 100TeV proton be traveling?

Re:Call it... (-1, Flamebait)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#45413207)

How about we call it the GFMP (Giant Fucking Money Pit)?

Re:Call it... (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about 10 months ago | (#45413417)

I don't think that's fair. Money Pit implies that we're throwing money in and getting nothing out.

They are using it and getting some research done. Just because the CNN isn't commenting on results every week and Slashdot isn't posting something here-and-there doesn't mean that nothing's getting done.

Re:Call it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413601)

Oh yeah it does. Imagine the jug of vaseline it'll take to jerk this thing off. This is complete bullshit. At what theoretical energy limit do time
quanta exist? How about gravitons? Come up with some ideas to solve these fundamental questions so the physicists can stop fluffing each
other. (Gravitons are supposedly at what? 10 ^16 TEV?, good luck with that one)

Re:Call it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413665)

Sorry, that's the energy required to unify, my mistake. Hey, see how cheap that was.

Re:Call it... (2)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | about 10 months ago | (#45413361)

How about the Superconducting Supercollider.. [pause]...[begins crying]

Re: Call it... (1)

thePig (964303) | about 10 months ago | (#45413393)

Or binary hadron collider?
Is it possible to have two circles of say same circumference each and then redirect the electron/protons to a junction between them where it can collide? With such a contraption, we can keep on revolving the protons until it reaches the required speed.
Obviously this would have been amongst the first ideas to be checked and rejected, but what are the negatives in this idea?

Re: Call it... (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 10 months ago | (#45413639)

A "collider" already implies that there are two beams traveling in opposite directions, as opposed to an "accelerator" which impacts a fixed target. There's no reason to build two separate rings when you can operate both beams within the same ring.

Dallas? (3, Interesting)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 10 months ago | (#45412765)

hmmm....I wonder where they could build it. Oh - I know. Dallas. The tunnel has been dug so all they have to do is drop in a few magnates.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_Super_Collider [wikipedia.org]

On a more serious note, I though the next big project was going to be a linear accelerator. Anybody know why they picked the round one over the straight one?

Re:Dallas? (2)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 10 months ago | (#45412823)

hmmm....I wonder where they could build it. Oh - I know. Dallas. The tunnel has been dug so all they have to do is drop in a few magnates.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_Super_Collider [wikipedia.org]

On a more serious note, I though the next big project was going to be a linear accelerator. Anybody know why they picked the round one over the straight one?

Slap on a little crowd sourcing and *POOF* all done.

Re:Dallas? (5, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45412859)

hmmm....I wonder where they could build it. Oh - I know. Dallas. The tunnel has been dug so all they have to do is drop in a few magnates.

I'm all for putting Donald Trump underground, but shouldn't we cover the hole with dirt afterwards?

Re:Dallas? (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 10 months ago | (#45413487)

I don't know about dirt it seems to easy for zombies and action heros. Beter use cement.

Re:Dallas? (1)

golden age villain (1607173) | about 10 months ago | (#45412861)

On a more serious note, I though the next big project was going to be a linear accelerator. Anybody know why they picked the round one over the straight one?

Isn't that simply because in a circular one you can accelerate the particles continuously through several rotations?

Re:Dallas? (5, Informative)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | about 10 months ago | (#45413059)

This is true, but no so simple: in a straight line, you gain energy with the distance. When going round, you lose energy to stay in the loop as a function of the radius (the infinite radius case brings you back to the straight line). Thus, each time you want more energy, your collider ring needs to have considerably larger radius (following a third power law). At some point (basically the point after this proposal) you have to loop around the solar system :)

Re:Dallas? (5, Funny)

EvilSS (557649) | about 10 months ago | (#45412873)

hmmm....I wonder where they could build it. Oh - I know. Dallas. The tunnel has been dug so all they have to do is drop in a few magnates

Not sure how dropping a few billionaires into a hole in Texas would help get this project built but I'm not opposed to trying it.

Re:Dallas? (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about 10 months ago | (#45412877)

Dump a bunch of supposed important people [reference.com] into an underground tunnel? Sounds good!

Also, in round accelerators they can achieve much higher energies, iirc, since the particles can travel around the ring many times... while in a linear accelerator its maximum energy is dictated by the length of a single run.

Re:Dallas? (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 10 months ago | (#45412967)

The tunnels done for the SCSC are probably no longer fit for purpose, as they've been flooded ever since they were abandoned, which weakens and damages the structure considerably :(

Re:Dallas? (1)

Megane (129182) | about 10 months ago | (#45413363)

Well, that and they never finished the ring tunnel. Really, they barely started them. The LHC, on the other hand, re-used an existing tunnel.

Re:Dallas? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413087)

There's a tradeoff in circular/linear accelerators. Linear accelerators let you collide leptons (usually electrons) efficiently and leptons provide a MUCH cleaner signal. A comparable energy circular accelerator can be shorter, but due to bremsstrahlung losses, you have to collide hadrons (like protons), which provides a much messier signal.

After you do some rough calculations of what particles you can collide, their energies and the number of interactions per second, you then take those numbers and plug them into a model of a hypothetical detector along with a number of theories you'd like to explore to see which configuration gives you the biggest "bang for your buck"

The issue is that different people are more interested in probing different kinds of physics and it's impossible to make a detector/accelerator that's sensitive enough to fully probe everything, so big arguments happen at places like Snowmass. We know that we basically can only ask for one multi-billion dollar accelerator, so everyone's fighting to keep their pet research alive.

Re:Dallas? (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#45413245)

Yeah, now all they need is a shit-ton of tax dollars out of a government already $18 trillion in debt (and growing by $1 trillion a year). No problemo!! Fuck it, let's build a bunch of new Aircraft Carriers and jets while we're at it!! The party will never end, right?

Just finish the one in Texas (1)

Rafael Jaimes III (3430609) | about 10 months ago | (#45412789)

It was planned to have an 87 KM circumference and is already partially built.

Re:Just finish the one in Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412865)

That's what she said!

Re:Just finish the one in Texas (2)

necro81 (917438) | about 10 months ago | (#45413031)

The tunnel, while expensive, is probably a small portion of the overall cost. The bulk of the cost will be in the magnets, experiments, and computing. Locating a VLHC at the SSC tunnel in Texas probably wouldn't save a lot of money, especially when one factors in the other costs of putting it there.

Re:Just finish the one in Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413137)

Not to mention Texas is one of most anti-science states in America.

Re:Just finish the one in Texas (1)

slapyslapslap (995769) | about 10 months ago | (#45413539)

Um, NASA?

Re:Just finish the one in Texas (1)

SeanBlader (1354199) | about 10 months ago | (#45413609)

Hey wait, Texas isn't anti-science, they just have a different opinion on what science actually is. And it's not this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wch4ekOEwaA [youtube.com]

Peanuts (5, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 10 months ago | (#45412801)

A cost of $10 billion is peanuts compared to the $3.2-4 trillion cost of the Iraq war [wikipedia.org] or the $12.8 trillion cost of the bank bailout. [unaffiliatedparty.org] . Even if these figures are not very accurate, VLHC is, comparatively, not expensive.

The trouble is that VLHC does not enrich the friends of the politicans and so will not be looked on favourably. When will mankind grow up?

Re:Peanuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412869)

I'd be cool with it if we give then the $10B ... and never, ever, under no circumstances a single penny more. You blow through that and go over budget, you're out of a job. I'm sick of all these science missions asking for 'peanuts' and spending the next 15 years hat-in-hand asking for more due to overruns and poor planning. To be fair, I'd adopt the same policy for weapons programs.

You are so right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413023)

They could come with an exact figure by just going to office.microsoft.com/templates/VLHC and download all the templates for Excel and Project. enter the numbers and BING! - they got a rock solid budget and timeline! I tell ya, those physicists!

After all, building these things is as routine as building a sub-urban home!

Re:Peanuts (5, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 10 months ago | (#45413053)

Sadly its not that simple. Imagine lab "A" says they have a design they can build for 10B and lab "B" says it will cost $11B - and assume both labs have similar good reputations for building large projects. "A" gets the project and that means they get funded for the next ~15 years. Lab B gets downsized or even shut down because the high energy physics money is going to lab A. If the project works -great. But if not, and Lab A has put in an unreasonably low estimate at least they still exist, and after 15 years many of the managers responsible have retired.

Now say 15 years later the $10B has been spent, but its not quite done, another $2B would let you finish the project. Do you really throw away $10B to save 2B? There is no fraud, just a mis-estimation of the costs of building a beyond state-of-the-art machine and slightly larger technical problems than were expected.

What happens is that you create a very strong motivation for under-estimates because that at least keeps the lab alive. Combine that with the difficulty of estimating the cost of something that hasn't been done yet, and a long enough project timescale that changing economic conditions can substantially change labor and construction costs. This is why many projects like this go over budget.

I don't think this is unique to government. I suspect that Boeing doesn't do a good job of estimating the development cost of a new airliner either - and that is much less of a technological extrapolation than the high energy physics machines.

Re:Peanuts (1)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | about 10 months ago | (#45413133)

Dude, this would work if people were any good with numbers. Basically, if you have a competition, the best liar who low-balls their estimate gets the job. And then due to the sunk-cost fallacy, manages it to completion.

As it is, a honest estimation will only lead to your project never being funded, no matter how worthwhile it may be. And frankly, seeing the benefits of funding fundamental research, that would be immensely more costly for society in lost opportunity than whatever cost overrun. So the socially responsible thing to do is to lie about the costs.

Alternatively, you could teach people and their representatives to understand numbers and not freak out when they hear ONE TRILLION DOLLARS. 'Cause absolute values mean nothing. Fat chance.

Re:Peanuts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413165)

I'm sick of people building machines that nobody has ever built before and not knowing exactly how much they cost. Truly, the forgotten heroes of historical science projects have been the beancounters. Nuclear physics and rocket science is easy. Figuring out the nickles and dimes is the hard part.

Re:Peanuts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412889)

The trouble is that VLHC does not enrich the friends of the politicans and so will not be looked on favourably. When will mankind grow up?

And that is why it's not viable to build it in the US, both parties are already bought by someone with other interests.
In Europe it is a lot easier for the firms that will benefit from such a construction to find enough politicians to redirect a "not so large for the size of the region" amount of money to the project.

Also, can we call it "A Machine for Higgs"?

Re:Peanuts (3, Insightful)

EvilSS (557649) | about 10 months ago | (#45412903)

The trouble is that VLHC does not enrich the friends of the politicans and so will not be looked on favourably.

Oh, yea of little faith. I'm fairly certain anything that involves land acquisition and construction contracts will benefit SOME politician somewhere.

Re:Peanuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412907)

Yeah, yeah, but then we wouldn't be able to play with all these tanks and guns and airplanes and akakakakakaka pew pew pew! And then we wouldn't need to buy new ones and the factories would close and all those little people that make the guns would go hungry or have to do other work...

MEANWHILE at WORLD POLICE HQ dollar bills were used to tickle assholes

Re:Peanuts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412995)

Yes but unlike the LHC, the Iraq War took out one of the world's most evil tyrants and removed a shit ton of weapons of mass destruction from the world. I get so sick and tired of lieberals around here decrying the cost of protecting our freedom and then turning around and celebrating the idea of giving tax dollars to idioticaly expensive toys for foreign scientists.

Re:Peanuts (1)

smaddox (928261) | about 10 months ago | (#45413093)

Obvious troll, but I'll bite.

What weapons of mass destruction?

Re:Peanuts (4, Insightful)

mrspoonsi (2955715) | about 10 months ago | (#45413135)

> the Iraq War took out one of the world's most evil tyrants

I am sure I saw George Bush on the news last week, alive and well...

>and removed a shit ton of weapons of mass destruction from the world

the US military would have restocked all the weapons of mass destruction ** used in Iraq by now.


** the Boston bomber was charged with having a weapon of mass destruction, so anything pressure cooker size and up must be one

Re:Peanuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413113)

Yeah, it's pretty cheap all things considered but the real obstacle is fending off the graft and pork that likes to hang on to big projects. (Which is why the war and bailout were carried out without much political fuss. They are nothing but graft and pork)

Did you know that the original LHC was going to be built in the US? Yeah, it was. But political fighting over contracts and location fucked it up so hard the project was moved to Europe.

Fun fact: The shuttle boosters were built in utah and shipped to Florida in pieces. This, frankly, is fucking stupid since it's much easier to build a single unit closer to Florida where they will be used. Cheaper, lighter, safer. - But some scum fuck politician from Utah decided that a contractor in Utah needed that pork. Consequently, it's the multi-piece nature of the shuttle booster that caused the challenger failure. A greedy politician killed the challenger crew.

Re:Peanuts (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 10 months ago | (#45413219)

You should stick with the actual numbers for the bailout if you want to make a point. The imputed values distract from it.
And, the intents of these 3 expenditures is wildly different, making dollar value hard to compare.

Re:Peanuts (1)

swillden (191260) | about 10 months ago | (#45413335)

The trouble is that VLHC does not enrich the friends of the politicans and so will not be looked on favourably.

Maybe we should encourage Halliburton to get into the supercollider construction business?

Re:Peanuts (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#45413521)

Yes, because we wasted a shitload of money on some other shit we can't afford makes it okay to waste a significantly smaller shitload of money on *this* shit we can't afford. "Yes honey, I know I put this Porsche on the credit card....But it's a lot cheaper than the Lamborghini I put on the credit card last month!"

In the Astronomy World (0)

C_Kode (102755) | about 10 months ago | (#45412803)

In the Astronomy world, we call that Aperture Fever. It's an endless cycle of wanting more aperture so you can see more. Good luck ever quenching that thirst no matter how much money you though at it!

Re:In the Astronomy World (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412937)

Good luck ever quenching that thirst no matter how much money you though at it!

The moment they realize something is looking back at them, they'll work really hard to close it.

(capcha: daemon)

Re:In the Astronomy World (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413631)

In the Astronomy world, we call that Aperture Fever. It's an endless cycle of wanting more aperture so you can see more. Good luck ever quenching that thirst no matter how much money you though at it!

Curiously, in the gaming world, Aperture Fever is a similar term with a similar name that, while it doesn't have the same etymology, comes to the same conclusion.

WHY NOT IN THE FIRST PLACE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412817)

It is like road repair !! Spend a year to repave a road small sections at a time so to inconvience every driver for as long as possible !! Then a year latter rip it up to widen !! Money must grow on trees !!

Re:WHY NOT IN THE FIRST PLACE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412885)

Yeah, and why didn't they just land on the moon with the first rocket? What was the point of the Mercury and Gemini projects and those first ten Apollo launches, anyway?

Oh, wait, some of us actually know how engineering works.

Re:WHY NOT IN THE FIRST PLACE !! (4, Informative)

TopherC (412335) | about 10 months ago | (#45413351)

Well, many of these tunnels, including the one the LHC uses, have been refurbished multiple times already. Cern's main ring was built to be somewhat future-proof, but that was a long time ago. A google search came up with The history of CERN [web.cern.ch] , which dates the groundbreaking to 1954.

In accelerators you have two basic designs: linear and circular(ish). In linear accelerators each boosting element (RF cavity or whatnot) gets one chance to give the beam particles a kick, so the energy is limited to how hard you kick (limited by technology) and how many elements / how long (limited by budget).

In circular accelerators you are limited by synchrotron radiation. At some point the energy pumped into the beam matches the energy lost via synchrotron radiation. To move in a circle you have to accelerate inwardly, and an accelerating charged particle radiates light. At particle accelerator energies, this radiation is in the x-ray spectrum. You can reduce the loss by using a larger ring -- a smaller curvature requires less centripetal acceleration and hence less radiation loss. You can also of course build stronger boosting elements, but the radiation also heats the beamline and surrounding superconducting magnets, so it's not "that simple."

The other thing to vary is the kind of particle accelerated. Electrons have a very small mass and lose a larger fraction of their momentum to synchrotron radiation. SLAC and KEK are linear accelerators that use electrons. (Cornell's CESR is a ring that accelerates electrons too, but at lower energies compared to these others.) Protons are the other obvious choice, which is what Fermilab and CERN's LHC (after the upgrade) are accelerating. Being much more massive, the protons slough off less of their momentum to synchrotron radiation and can be accelerated to higher energies given the same size ring. The disadvantage of protons is that the energy of the proton is shared among its three quarks (and gluons I think) whereas the electron is truly singular as far as can be told.

I've been out of touch lately but as of at least 8 years ago three proposals were being discussed: VLHC -- big ring accelerating protons. Next Linear Collider (NLC) -- long linear accelerator for electrons. Muon collider -- a smaller ring (actually with straight sections like a track&field track) that produces and accelerates muons. Muons are just like electrons only 200 times more massive and is unstable with a half-life of 2 microseconds. The muon collider was thought to be an ideal Higgs factory, but with a lot of design challenges. One of the main challenges is to not only accelerate the muons before they decay, but also collimate, or "cool", the beam very fast as well so that you can create as many head-on collisions as possible.

So the news that the VLHC design is currently in favor is interesting, but this is hardly the first time the issue has been discussed and I doubt it will be the last. Several years ago the NLC design seemed most favorable, but this would, by its length, be limited to a specific design energy and probably be built to produce Higgs, Higgs, and more Higgs. It seems to me like a VLHC would have more discovery potential for more massive Higgs particles, signs of supersymmetry, or whatever else might exist.

Re:WHY NOT IN THE FIRST PLACE !! (5, Interesting)

TopherC (412335) | about 10 months ago | (#45413515)

I also wanted to mention the failed SSC in Texas, cancelled in 1993. That would have been running at double the LHC's energy about a decade earlier. In 1993 congress seats were won by senators promising budget cuts, and Big Science had a large target painted on its back. Killing the SSC was a big-profile way of appearing to reduce spending while at the same time not damaging something that many people understood or cared about.

Since that time, the US has proved time and time again that they are incapable of sustaining funding for a long-term science project. All of the high-energy accelerators in the US are operationally shut down, and almost no proposals in the past 20 years or so have survived all the way to producing results before getting scrapped by some budget shortfall in a particular fiscal year. The LHC survives because the US is not such a major (or critical) contributor.

Money? (1)

golden age villain (1607173) | about 10 months ago | (#45412819)

I am sure that they like it but the question really is where to find the money. A 80-100 km tunnel surely cannot be cheap. Various sources on the internet indicate a cost of 0.04 to 4 billion dollars per kilometer. And that is for the tunnel alone... Maybe someone from the field could enlighten us?

Re:Money? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 10 months ago | (#45412911)

Well, the numbers are all there in the summary

Cost of LHC is $5B
This one would be 3-4x as large.
So I would assume $15B-20B.

Re:Money? (1)

koolguy442 (888336) | about 10 months ago | (#45413437)

Well, the numbers are all there in the summary

Cost of LHC is $5B
This one would be 3-4x as large.
So I would assume $15B-20B.

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_Super_Collider#Comparison_to_the_Large_Hadron_Collider), the LHC was only so cheap because it took over existing tunnels from the former Large Electron-Positron Collider (whose cost a cursory Google search does not reveal). Digging fresh tunnels will add much more expense to the project.

Re:Money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412931)

The LHC was only $5 billion and was 27 Km (5.4 Km per billion dollars), by simple extrapolation it could be around $20 billion, my guess. When the one in Texas was cancelled, they had spent $2 billion and 22.5 Km was built (11.25 Km per billion dollars). Obviously, it wasn't finished so it would be a lot more for true completed Km. But it should be in the range of 5.4 to 11.25 Km per billion dollars.

Re:Money? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 10 months ago | (#45413265)

22.5Km and just tunnels for $2B... AFAIK. [wikipedia.org]

The SSC's planned collision energy of 40 TeV is almost three times the current 14 TeV of its European counterpart, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva.[20]
The SSC cost was due largely to the massive civil engineering project of digging a huge tunnel underground. The LHC, in contrast, took over the pre-existing engineering infrastructure and 27 km long underground cavern of the Large Electron-Positron Collider, and used innovative magnet designs to bend the higher energy particles into the available tunnel.[21] The LHC eventually cost the equivalent of about 5 billion US dollars to build.

Yeah, we spent the money on the ISS and all we got were a bunch of virus infected computers and a tourist destination.. ;-)

Not quite soon ... meanwhile, LHC is ramping up ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412833)

Look likes some scientists did not liked the idea that the CERN catched the higgs at LHC and dream of a "bigger toy".

I know boys are in the I-got-a-bigger-one business, but think of it, when shoting, AFAIK, the LHC generate almost a third of this planet data by itself. I think this will already takes a long long time to digest all these data.

Meanwhile, the LHC is under mainenance for a higher energy stratum. Remember that before LHC there was the LEP in the same tunnels... so VLHC might be as well located in the famous CERN tunels between Swiss and France.

By the way remember that there is another "toy" that is also in progress in the south of France : ITER.

About building a major tool in Japan, although I understand japanese contribution is high but I am not sure that the country is safe enough (earthquakes, tsunami... ) to host new major world class facility. Russia on the opposite is fine (plenty of land location), but the political regime is not yet stable.

Re:Not quite soon ... meanwhile, LHC is ramping up (1)

M3.14 (1616191) | about 10 months ago | (#45413025)

You might be right about the VLHC. I think the 100km circumference is meant considering current/near future magnet technologies. AFAIK when designing LHC to fit into LEP they planned for magnets that did not exist at that time. Maybe with a really good advance in magnet tech VLHC can fit inisde LHC tunnel ...

Do we need a Moore's Law for particle physics? (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 10 months ago | (#45412851)

Are they just going to keep multiplying the size of the thing by a factor of 'X' every 'Y' years? ;-)

Re:Do we need a Moore's Law for particle physics? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 10 months ago | (#45413231)

Yes. Within 10Y's, (assuming X is 2), we will need a tunnel around the equator of the earth. Within 34Y, we will need one around our solar system. Within 56Y, we will need the whole galaxy.

Why? (4, Interesting)

pla (258480) | about 10 months ago | (#45412901)

Make no mistake, I don't mean my subject as anti-science - From my point of view, I'd gladly give one of these to every university in the world before I'd pay for one more bullet fired from one more drone to kill one more Arab in a desert far away.

But in planning for a future desired collision energy, they really should have some actual goal in mind to justify that design. Do they hope to find dark matter? Black holes? Do they actually think they can make the Higgs break down into something else at that energy? So... Why?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413167)

Particle physicists are smart people, so they want to build a safe underground shelter for the years to come.

Re:Why? (1)

smaddox (928261) | about 10 months ago | (#45413195)

I am not a particle physicist, but there are plenty of posited models that differ from the standard model at high energies. My understanding is that the higher energy we get, the closer we get to gravitational effects being important. Even before then, we might see something new.

Personally, I do think this level of research is starting to reach the edge of cost effective, but split between many countries the cost isn't that bad.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 10 months ago | (#45413263)

We don't yet know. Isn't that terribly exciting? That is basic research at its finest.

Re:Why? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 10 months ago | (#45413633)

You still have to prioritize investments somehow.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413349)

Well, I'd love to build a telescope, but I'm just not sure what I'd see, so why bother? -Said by Galileo Galilei, in the year NEVER.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413615)

He saw something, obviously. He just wanted to see it more clearly.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413409)

Well you wouldn't say now that physicist of the end of the 19th century were doing things that had no actual goal.
The VLHC will be the defining tool of the next century's technology.
A few dozens of billions is incredibely cheap given the life changing knowledge it will bring.

You need another one? So soon? (4, Interesting)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#45412905)

You pesky physicists just keep running around in circles asking for more, MORE MORE money.. Is all this really necessary or are we really just funding a pile of PHD student's research?

So, why don't we just cut to the chase here and go with the biggest possible? I'm starting to get tired of this "We need a bigger one now!" thing.

Seriously, So now that they've managed to find the Higgs boson we are done with the LHC? I'm looking for a really good reason we need a bigger collider here and I'm not seeing any given. Is there some theory we need to test or some additional advances in technology which depend on a better understanding of subatomic physics at such large energies? I'm no physicist, but I'm not seeing a reason for this expense, other than having a new, bigger and more expensive shiny toy.

Help us out, what will 100 TeV get you that your 14 TeV won't?

Re:You need another one? So soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412941)

So, why don't we just cut to the chase here and go with the biggest possible?

I'm all for it. Do we want the circle for the accelerator to be on the equator, or a polar circumference?

Also the land rights might be a little tricky, and suspending the thing over the oceans would be an engineering challenge.

Re:You need another one? So soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413065)

Help us out, what will 100 TeV get you that your 14 TeV won't?

It is like a microscope... why would you need such a thing, we already have a magnifying glass? What else could be there?

It turns out, quite a bit. Discovered bacteria that way (and a few other things). But there's not really anyway to know until you look.

Re:You need another one? So soon? (3, Informative)

ivano (584883) | about 10 months ago | (#45413077)

They have their reasons if you actually read about it. Anyway it takes roughly 20 years to plan, get funding, and build the thing. That's why they're starting now. It's called "what happens if you only have one chance to build something that as yet the technology hasn't been developed yet". For instance the LHC was designed before they knew if they could find magnets to be able to "bend the beams". Also check out http://www.linearcollider.org/ [linearcollider.org] .

Re:You need another one? So soon? (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 10 months ago | (#45413253)

The biggest one possible would be 40,000 km in circumference (give or take a few kms) and would probably have numerous design issues, what with pesky plate tectonics and relativity and such getting in the way.

That's until it's built and then we decide to use Saturn's ring as a basis for the next one, obviously.

I'd rather the money go for a Mars mission. (1, Insightful)

adric22 (413850) | about 10 months ago | (#45412923)

I mean particle physics is cool, but it doesn't do anything for the human spirit of exploration like a mission to Mars would.

Summary: they found Higgs with LHC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412935)

... but he managed to get away just before the closing credits.

Moar! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412981)

physicists are beginning to get excited about designing a machine that might one day succeed it: the Very Large Hadron Collider

Which will later be succeeded by the Really Large Hadron Collider, then the Really REALLY Large Hadron Collider, and finally by the Planetary Hadron Collider, so large that the tunnel encircles the globe itself and is later appropriated for a VacTrain tube.

Let THEM pay for it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45412989)

This is another massive fraud against the WORKERS whose wages are stolen in the form of 'taxes' to pay for lifetime 'jobs for the boys' like this.
It's an absolute outrage, all those involved should be arrested and made to work in slave labour camps, see how they like it.

ps to all the geniuses saying it's 'peanuts compared to the cost of the Iraq war', have you never heard of the expression 'Two wrongs don't make a right'?

Re:Let THEM pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413145)

They already tried that in the Soviet Union --- care to join them in the dumps of history?

Meanwhile, I'm sure you'll continue to enjoy your lifestyle which profligately uses cheap network connectivity (courtesy of ARPANET), cheap oil (courtesy of our Saudi friends which our military props up), and satellite / cable TV (courtesy of the rockets which these ``boys'' provide the know-how for).

Design study & font choices (1)

Geraden (15689) | about 10 months ago | (#45413021)

Reading the design study by Peter Limon (http://vlhc.org/Limon_seminar.pdf), I couldn't help but notice that it made rather liberal use of Comic Sans.

I'll probably burn some of my karma to say this, but I must say it: Nothing screams professionalism like Comic Sans.

Name? (1)

Game Genie (656324) | about 10 months ago | (#45413039)

Shouldn't it be the Larger Hadron Collider?

Crowd funding (4, Funny)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 10 months ago | (#45413119)

They should kickstarter the money for it. I'll throw in $50. Flex goals: Stargate; flux capacitor; warp drive.

Re:Crowd funding (1)

jfengel (409917) | about 10 months ago | (#45413399)

Crowdfunding a $5 billion project, fifty bucks at a time, would require a third of the United States, or 3% of the entire planet.

It's like Horsepower and other things. (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 10 months ago | (#45413147)

This is like the quest for horsepower. One guy gets a supercharger, the other gets twin turbos. One guy sees a car producing 1150 HP while his only produces 1100. Next thing you know he's ripping out parts just to get that little bit more. I think the scientists on the LHC are over-compensating, maybe we should just send them packages of Enzyte instead?

Particle Colliders in Space? (1)

jovius (974690) | about 10 months ago | (#45413199)

Could that be possible? To build a particle collider in the orbit (or at a Lagrange point). Focusing of the beam wouldn't be easy, but it would be certainly doable. I'm thinking a straight collider or a giant laser like setup. I wonder how protected the system should be of outside interference?

The cosmic rays themselves probably randomly collide too with each other and create exotic byproducts. I wonder what's the actual chance of a natural head-on collision...

Re:Particle Colliders in Space? (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about 10 months ago | (#45413471)

Ignoring the physics aspect of it... since I'm not qualified to even "guess" if there would be issues

I imagine the major issues would be:
- Price of construction
- Price of delivering construction pieces: it's like thousands and thousands of dollars to send up 1lb of stuff into orbit
- Space junk and asteroids - something the size of an eye-glass screw could pretty much ruin the whole thing. And there's a lot of crud in orbit
- You'd need people to maintain it, run it, etc. That's a large expense right there unless they no longer use the ISS for anything except OrbitalHC employees.
- etc

helium? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 10 months ago | (#45413235)

How are we ever going to get the amount of helium required to fill such a large tunnel? The LHC is already using a large amount of all the helium we have on this planet. It is going to become awfully expensive at least to get that much helium together, if we can manage it at all.

Re:helium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413531)

Nope. 169 million standard cubic meters of Helium are produced a year, lots is available. And it is cheap, $75 per thousand cubic feet.

Re:helium? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413559)

The helium at LHC is liquid helium used to cool the superconducting magnets, not to fill the tunnel.

But maybe by the time this is built we'll have room-temperature (or nearly so) superconductors that can sustain that kind of magnetic field. (AFAIK the LN2-cooled ceramic superconductors can't.)

I swear.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45413599)

These physicists wont be happy until they open a black hole that swallows the earth..

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