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More On The International Linear Collider

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the get-cracking dept.

Science 178

paragon_au writes "The UK Independent is reporting that details for a purposed 40km long international Linear Collider have been released by 'An international panel of particle physicists [that] decided the high-energy linear collider - a £3bn machine for smashing matter against antimatter - will use revolutionary superconducting technology to shed light on the origin and nature of the universe. Plans for the International Linear Collider have still to be finalised but scientists hope that construction of the underground machine will begin in six years.'"

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Purposed? (-1, Troll)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038316)

Y'all bin takin' grammactutical lessons from Dubya?

Re:Purposed? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038342)

Retard [reference.com]

Re:Purposed? (0, Troll)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038362)

Thank you for proving the incorrect usage of this word in the context. You are truly an educated man.

John "eff-ing" Kerry is a Liar (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038552)

Sellout. www.swiftvets.com

John Kerry: "They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads..."

Joe Ponder: "The accusations that John Kerry made against the veterans who served in Vietnam was just devastating."

John Kerry: "...randomly shot at civilians..."

Joe Ponder: "It hurt me more than any physical wounds I had."

John Kerry: "...cut off limbs, blown up bodies..."

Ken Cordier: "That was part of the torture, was, uh, to sign a statement that you had committed war crimes."

John Kerry: "...razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan..."

Paul Gallanti: "John Kerry gave the enemy for free what I, and many of my, uh, comrades in North Vietnam, in the prison camps, uh, took torture to avoid saying. It demoralized us."

John Kerry: "...crimes committed on a day to day basis..."

Ken Cordier: "He betrayed us in the past, how could we be loyal to him now?"

John Kerry: "...ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam."

Paul Gallanti: "He dishonored his country, and, uh, more, more importantly the people he served with. He just sold them out."

Re:Purposed? (0, Troll)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038469)

So, are you going to reveal your seft righteous ignoble AC ass and apologise? Thought not, you ignorant twat.

My COCK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038319)

is the biggest Linear Collider that your mother has ever had in her ASS!

Yay No Curves (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038328)

As much as we all love CERN, Curves don't allow electrons thus no clean experiments. electron collisions are clean and pretty!

Re:Yay No Curves (1)

zimba-tm (598761) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038948)

How would you build a straight tunnel on earth ?
I mean, we're in the 21th century, no-one will believe you if you say earth is flat.

Re:Yay No Curves (5, Informative)

Gil-galad55 (707960) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038995)

Actually, curves do allow electrons. It's just that an accelerating particle radiates energy (synchrotron radiation), and that radiation increases exponentially as mass decreases. The LHC uses protons because their much larger mass (~1000 greater) siginificantly decreases synchrotron radiation. The previous accelerator at CERN, the LEP, occuped the same tunnel and used electrons and positrons. However, while the LEP could only reach energies of ~200 GeV, the LHC aims for 27 TeV. A linear accelerator nips the problem of synchrotron radiation in the bud.

Ultimate Question... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038341)

shed light on the origin and nature of the universe.

That's fine and dandy, but we already know the answer to life, the universe, and everything. What I want to know is, what's the question. Can this thing help?? ;)

Re:Ultimate Question... (1)

benna (614220) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038623)

He didn't put one in the books for a reason. There isn't one.

Re:Ultimate Question... (2, Insightful)

Izago909 (637084) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038997)

It will help us, among other things, close the link between matter and energy. It sounds very star trek, I know, but it's one of mankind's greatest achievements waiting to happen. It's also a step closer to a working unification theory or (dis)proving string and superstring theory, supersymmetry, and m-theory. These may or may not be the follow-ups that can cast a shadow on general and special relativity, just like Einstein did to Newton.

We already have one of these in Canada (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038344)

It's called the Trans-Canada Highway.

(It's an immature joke so I'm posting it AC.)

finally! (2, Funny)

sosuke (789685) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038345)

a toy that i can finally put to good use, smashing things never gets old!

Re:finally! (1)

sosuke (789685) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038911)

can someone take this off or something, god was i bored and delirious, tech support sucks

Why not revive the SSC? (5, Insightful)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038348)

THe old Superconducting SuperCollider (SSC) is still there, half built in Texas. All the buildings are still intact and the tunnels are still there (just closed off). Would THAT be cheaper. As I recall it was also about 40km in length. I live near that site and I'm sure that we could make someone a HECK of a deal on the site. Of course there are people living nearby now but it's not going to be a hazard. IIRC, The collider at Stanford (SLAC) goes under houses, campus bldgs and a freeway. Oh right, I forgot, common sense and high-energy high $$$ physics projects don't go together.

Re:Chances of Life (2)

gears5665 (699068) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038364)

You forget that no one trusts the US anymore.

Re:Chances of Life (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038377)

You forget that no one gives a shit about sniveling, weak eurotrash.

Re:Chances of Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038429)

Too bad the average European IQ is higher [www.goat.cx] than the average American IQ

Chances of Nausea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038756)

oh my god, thats gross... I hate you.

Re:Chances of Life (1)

gears5665 (699068) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038381)

In Fact, I'm not sure _I_ trust us anymore!

Re:Chances of Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038628)

In Fact, you're not sure that you aren't quite sure of ANYTHING anymore!

Re:Chances of Life (2, Funny)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038382)

Yeah, because you never know what kind of conspiracy theory can take root in a super collider run by an international team of scientists. I'm sure there is some way to make a conspiracy theory out of this. After all, we all know how electrons routinely bow down to US interests.

Damn intolerant fool, your anti-americanism is getting the better of you.

Re:Chances of Life (2, Insightful)

gears5665 (699068) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038414)

its tough being anti-american and an american at the same time...I actually like myself... but I completely understand the rest of the world not wanting to give our government their money. Which is exactly why good foriegn policy is so important to a nation. Our science is directly and negatively affected by the anti-science position of the current Administration. I was trying not to rant...I think I explained my points.

Re:Chances of Life (2, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038462)

I cant stand this administration either, and think Bush is a fool. I also think his anti-science policies are rubbish. But please don't let that cloud your judgement of our country. At most he can only be in office four more years, leaving him out of the picture long before this thing could ever be built and functional.

As for being anti-american at the same time as being American, it's not tough at all. We've always had the most vehement American haters home grown. Their are blacks that are racist against blacks, men sexist against men, and there are certainly Americans who are anti-US. Want to change international perception, than help encourage the US to build big science projects like this. The US needs to once more be the worlds top destination for scientists, and this is one of the ways of doing so.

Never before has a nation worked so hard to give away and abandon it's lead in technology.

Re:Chances of Life (1)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038573)

Never before has a nation worked so hard to give away and abandon it's lead in technology.

No, I'm afraid you don't win that, the Nazis and Soviets are some way ahead, but you are catching up fast. I can offer the fact that in the modern age Totalitarian regimes don't usually last long, sorry I can't be of any more help.

Re:Chances of Life (2, Insightful)

RWerp (798951) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038952)

Want to change international perception, than help encourage the US to build big science projects like this. The US needs to once more be the worlds top destination for scientists, and this is one of the ways of doing so.

Suppose the USA builds a great scientific project and invite scientist from all over the world, what will happen? Half of them won't be let into the USA for 'security reasons'.

Re:Chances of Life (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038472)

I'm sure there is some way to make a conspiracy theory out of this.
I am sure you are alluding to the well known fact that this is all part of the plan to give Dick Cheney Spidey-Powers and send him back to before the time of the dinosaurs so that he can influence the size of the US oil reserves.

Re:Chances of Life (1)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038576)

Don't forget to mention that Fermilab (with a piddly 4 mile ring collider) is already heavily involved in the international scene. Sometimes it seems like more people speak russian there than english.

Quick, start up the conspiracy theories!

Re:Chances of Life (-1, Offtopic)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038400)

Name ONE major goverment that you can trust.

Just ONE.

Re:Chances of Life (1)

Reducer2001 (197985) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038489)

The Swiss?

Re:Chances of Life (0, Offtopic)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038591)

The Swiss?

But some Swiss Cantons (broadly equivalent to US states) didn't allow women to vote until 1992!

Switzerland is not a major government. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038665)

All of Switzerland is smaller than many US states. A canton is roughly equivalent to a small city but, because Switzerland is a democracy, it has more self-government.

Re:Chances of Life (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038846)

Look at how 'helpful' and 'trusting' the Swiss have been about returning the Gold the Nazi's stole.

Straight vs Curved (2, Informative)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038376)

Wouldn't Linear be a straight line Tunnel?
Your half built SSC is curved.

We could revisit reactivating the SSC project, but that's a different debate.

Hmm donuts :) (1)

zimba-tm (598761) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038970)

lol

Re:Why not revive the SSC? (1)

LeBlanc_Joey (756213) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038378)

There is the small problem of the Atlantic Ocean.

Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038420)

the Atlantic ocean does not border Texas.

Re:Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038535)

Three words: Gulf of Mexico.

Re:Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038543)

And I suppose you think the two are the same?

Re:Idiot (1)

LeBlanc_Joey (756213) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038583)

But it does border North America, I assumed since the story was from a UK news company that the panel was probably largely european.

Re:Why not revive the SSC? (5, Informative)

Ev0lution (804501) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038423)

The SSC was a circular collider, not a linear collider, so it isn't a direct replacement. ILC would study collisions between electrons and positrons. With circular colliders, one problem is that particles lose energy as they go round the ring (due to synchnotron radiation). As the energy increase these losses also increase. This is less of a problem for heavy particles (e.g. proton-antiproton) collisions, but circular colliders don't scale well for electron-positron collisions, hence the need for a linear collider.

Re:Why not revive the SSC? (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038711)

Well, I'm NOT a physicist by any means! I was just trying to see if there was a lower cost option (smacks head...that damned MBA is kicking in again and overrulling my techiness). I wonder if you could boost the energy with the more modern technology available today (better magnets) and get the energy needed and still come out cheaper?

Re:Why not revive the SSC? (5, Informative)

vondo (303621) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038827)

Magnet's don't boost the energy, they only bend the particles. The RF cavities boost the energy. So, with better magnets, you can build a smaller, more powerful proton accelerator, but they don't help you with an electron accelerator.

The problem with an electron accelerator is that energy is lost due to the bend radius and unless you have a very large accelerator, you quickly get to the point where energy is coming out just as fast as you can put it in. Solution: an infinite-bend-radius (linear accelerator).

What I haven't seen mentioned here yet is that we use both types of accelerators (proton and electron) for different reasons. Protons colliding give the highest energies and the collisions produce a wide variety of particles and interactions at a variety of interaction energies. Electron collisions are much cleaner, but tend to be at lower energies and rates. (This is because electrons are fundamental particles but protons are made of 3 quarks each and it's really the quarks colliding.) But, if you know the energy (mass) of the particle you want to study, you can produce them reliably and in a very clean environment so you can study them more precisely.

The SSC? (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038460)

The SSC [hep.net] was originally intended [wikipedia.org] to be a 54 mi (87 km) ring. 14 miles of tunnel were complete.

Despite the incredible importance of this research - not to mention basic research in general - it was dismissed as a boondoggle and sandbox for particle physicists [cato.org] .

More reading: Science and Patriotism run amok in Texas [washingtonpost.com]

Re:The SSC? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038854)

Despite the incredible importance of this research - not to mention basic research in general - it was dismissed as a boondoggle and sandbox for particle physicists.
It was dismissed because its head administrators had no idea of how to budget an R&D project. They treated all the cost estimates as if they were standard contracts for a mature technology. When their fixed-price fixed-schedule plan did not survive contact with reality, they cooked up a new fixed-price fixed-schedule plan and presented it to Congress. When the new plan ... etc. They were so out of touch that the took budget estimates from scientists as gospel without even considering monetary inflation over the multi-year course of the work. Congress is willing to overlook a lot, but the administrators did everything in their power to surprise and confuse them. So Congress pulled the plug.

Re:The SSC? (1)

RWerp (798951) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038945)

Despite the incredible importance of this research - not to mention basic research in general - it was dismissed as a boondoggle and sandbox for particle physicists.

After reading the linked text I have this strange impression it's been written by somebody who just hated his high-school physics teacher. Probably also never graduated from it.

Re:Why not revive the SSC? (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038996)

Obviously, you don't live in Texas. I was unable to find the source document; but the following quote states the reason quite clearly:

"This reminds me of the Super Collider, when it was suppose to come to UC Davis. Instead it went to President Bush Sr's home state of Texas. If you remember, that was a boondoggle. The thing was plagued with problems including fire ants that were attracted from miles around whenever the thing was turned on for tests -- then [the ants] would eat the wires down to the core!!! Because of cost over runs, the project was scrapped" (http://www2.dcn.org/orgs/ithinktank/forum/0000003 7/)

No (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038359)

NO! lets go to the moon and mars. -1 flame

obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038366)

Imagine a beowolf cluster of those!

Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038389)

Scotty's getting on in age, what if they can't reverse polarity in time?

There might be a warp core breach!

I can hear the planning (5, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038390)

I can hear the scientists planning this now...

"Okay, we'll make this like, really huge collider and we'll smash matter and anti-matter together really fast, like SSSSKRKKRAASSSH. Oh man, this will be so awesome."

Must resist Futurama quote.... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038401)

"Super collider? I just met her!"

[The audience laughs.]

And then they built the super collider.

Thank you, you've been a great audience....

The final frontier (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038404)

This is the future. There is no way we're on this little blue planet at the edge of a galaxy, one of millions in the universe, without a practical means of travelling around. There simply must be a way to do it. If we can't increase the speed, then shorten the distance. I don't know what scientific magic we'll end up with, but I suspect it's buried deep in partical physics.

Re:The final frontier (5, Interesting)

SKorvus (685199) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038767)

I agree. One really exciting conceptual propulsion system is the idea of being able to push against the quantum vacuum that underlies all of reality.

A simplistic metaphor would be to imagine someone in zero-G trying to move around; then putting them in water and letting them swim. Chemical propulsion means you have to carry all the mass with you that you push against in order to propel yourself. With "Space Drive", you would still need to expend energy; but presumably much less than with current methods.

Nasa: Ideas Based On What We'd Like To Achieve [nasa.gov]
Nasa: Some Emerging Possibilities [nasa.gov]

More news (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038413)

German lab wins linear collider contest [physicsweb.org]

Particle physicists have chosen to base the proposed International Linear Collider on superconducting technology developed by an international collaboration centred on the DESY lab in Germany. The superconducting approach was chosen by an international panel ahead of a rival technology developed at Stanford in the US and the KEK lab in Japan. The eagerly-awaited decision was announced at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Beijing today.

The 30-km-long International Linear Collider (ILC) will collide electrons and positrons together at energies of at least 500 billion electron volts. Particle physicists will use the ILC to make detailed studies of the Higgs boson and any other new particles, such as supersymmetric particles, that might be discovered at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It is envisaged that the ILC will turn on by around the middle of the next decade, about eight years after the start up of the LHC, which is currently being built at CERN in Geneva.

Is this the answer to God, the universe and all that? [guardian.co.uk]

Physicists plan £3bn experiment in a 20-mile long tunnel

They call it the God particle: a mysterious sub-atomic fragment that permeates the entire universe and explains how everything is the way it is. Nobody has ever seen the God particle; some say it doesn't exist but, in the ultimate leap of faith, physicists across the world are preparing to build one of the most ambitious and expensive science experiments the world has ever seen to try to find it.

ITER Impasse Illustrates Challenge of Site Selection [physicstoday.org]

...indeed, site selection is often a thorny matter, even for scientific projects not as costly or international as ITER or the next-generation linear collider.

Re:More news (1)

pchan- (118053) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038652)

They call it the God particle

a great way to recognize a poor physics article or book is if it mentions either god or einstein in the title.

Re:More news (1)

Jim Starx (752545) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038688)

Agreed on the first one. But why Einstein?

dual-nature of light is really "brownian motion"? (3, Interesting)

SaberTaylor (150915) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038438)

it puts the antimatter in the particle accelerator or it gets the non-unified description of our Universe.

btw, here's an idea. so string theorists say that electromagnetism and other stuff is caused by extra dimensions that are too small to see. what i was thinking a couple days ago during a heat lightning storm, is that it relates to another part of string theory. namely the idea that our universe is like a soap bubble among a conglomerate. then the extra dimensions could be the axes to adjacent universes. perfect.

keep in mind that cosmology/quantum mechanics are non-intuitive. :o) but einstein's special theory of relativity was instigated by the simple idea that acceleration and gravity are equivalent.

Re:dual-nature of light is really "brownian motion (3, Informative)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038488)

namely the idea that our universe is like a soap bubble among a conglomerate. then the extra dimensions could be the axes to adjacent universes. perfect.

Do a Google for 'brane theory' -- it is similar to what you appear to be thinking of.

but einstein's special theory of relativity was instigated by the simple idea that acceleration and gravity are equivalent.

That would be 'general theory' -- special relativity deals solely with unaccelerated frames of reference.

Re:dual-nature of light is really "brownian motion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038565)

Special relativity can handle accelerated frames just fine, just like ordinary Newtonian mechanics can; it just can't handle curved spacetime.

Re:dual-nature of light is really "brownian motion (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038603)

Special relativity can handle accelerated frames just fine, just like ordinary Newtonian mechanics can; it just can't handle curved spacetime.

Yep, you're right; I'm so used to considering gravity-induced accelerations that I often interchange the two in my mind.

Re:dual-nature of light is really "brownian motion (2, Informative)

RWerp (798951) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038977)

einstein's special theory of relativity was instigated by the simple idea that acceleration and gravity are equivalent.

Errr, no. It was General Relativity.

FEL anyone? (4, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038440)

Wasnt this supposed to be combined with the new free electron laser build there? That the electron part of the collider would also feed the FEL?

Re:FEL anyone? (1)

JRIsidore (524392) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038883)

The FEL is already working (at least the first stage) and it has a seperate electron source. IIRC it is far more important for the electrons to have a very sharp velocity/energy distribution than to have high energy.

What I see coming out of this project (3, Funny)

r.future (712876) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038445)

I see scientists getting skate boards, or roller blades on and hurting them selfs as they have jousting tournaments in the thing. On the up side, I bet they will come up with some really bad ass new kinds of armor as a result of this project... maybe even some cool really fast skate boards.

NO! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038449)

WE WILL ALL DIE; MY COUSIN TOLD ME SO AND HE IS A TEACHER;

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

A much easier solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038459)

Why do they have to spend all this money just to smash atoms together at near-light speed?

All one has to do is to connect two California freeway lanes together, going in opposite directions.

And no, LA freeways don't count. LA is not a part of California. :P :)

Purposed (2, Informative)

Elladan (17598) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038481)

"Proposed"

That is all.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038639)

Good point. Surprised no one else noticed that.

Oops? (1)

Nebulaeus (459722) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038484)

Any possilility that a collider of this size could result in an exotic, yet disastrous incident that could that spell our sudden and premature demise?

Re:Oops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038518)

Yes.

But, then, so could anything.

Re:Oops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038588)

No.

Re:Oops? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038617)

Yeah, the collider can supposedly relicence GPL software as BSD.

Re:Oops? (1)

Jim Starx (752545) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038708)

no

Half-Life (2, Funny)

miscellaneous_havoc (621991) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038509)

This sounds strangely like the plot-line from Half-Life... Do I smell a prequel?

Wouldn't we learn more quickly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038510)

...if someone would build an exponential collider?

Hollywood disaster movie directors take note... (2, Informative)

spamster (766232) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038514)

Might as well bring up the mention of strange matter before some other paranoid ninny does. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strangelet . Unlikely it could be made, but I'm sure the same people who worry about neutron emissions and world destroying asteroids will like this also.

Shedding light on the origin of the universe (3, Insightful)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038521)

...again.

Isn't that ALWAYS what they say about these things? Nobody ever says "This is to help us built anti-matter bombs."

That said, sounds exciting, let me go ahead and echo what the other poster said WTF happened to the SSC?

Re:Shedding light on the origin of the universe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038625)

Anti-Matter Bombs? With a machine that does 500 million eV collisions? You must be joking. 1 trillion electron volts is 1*10^-7 Joules. You use more energy typing one character.

Re:Shedding light on the origin of the universe (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038870)

I was sort of half kidding there. I wasn't saying "this collider is a bomb." I was saying "anti-matter research will lead to anti-matter bombs." I was still half kidding.

Potential for disaster.... (1)

DWXXV (784152) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038527)

I am a doomsayer but still these things have a capacity fore loveliness. Such as the creation have Black Holes and such.

Location. (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038548)

I think they should build it....

oh, I don't know, maybe 40 or so km from SCO's headquarters? ;)

Circular Colliders (4, Interesting)

musingmelpomene (703985) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038580)

While I understand that electron/positron collisions require the linear accelerator, doesn't a lot of this hinge upon the discovery of the Higgs boson? I mean, basically, this whole project is being built with the assumption that the Higgs boson both exists and will be possible to study in a 40 km LinAc. I'm all for new particle accelerators, but I'm also all for not using money needlessly. It seems to me that it would be prudent to delay starting a project of this magnitude and international importance until we're sure that all the hypotheses regarding the Higgs boson are correct. Additionally, the whole "superconducting accelerator" thing is hardly new. The Tevatron at Fermilab (which is the fifth stage of a five-stage particle accelerator) already uses superconducting magnets. Anyone happen to know if this LinAc is any different from that (other than the obvious straight/curved difference) or if journalists just like to say "revolutionary superconducting technology" as if they know what they're talking about?

Re:Circular Colliders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038596)


While I understand that electron/positron collisions require the linear accelerator, doesn't a lot of this hinge upon the discovery of the Higgs boson?


Um, no. The existence of the Higgs is not integral to the kind of physics that this collider would probe.

Re:Circular Colliders (2, Interesting)

vondo (303621) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038859)

I believe it's the accleration cavities that are superconducting in this design, which is not the case with the Tevatron or the LHC (I think). Yes, this fundamentally different technology.

Your concerns on waiting to build this are shared by a number of physicists. But, in 6 years we should know about the Higgs if it is where most theories place it. It's important to do the R&D now so the LC when it's needed.

Re:Circular Colliders (4, Informative)

jpflip (670957) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038866)

Yes and no. The Linear Collider doesn't depend on the discovery of the Higgs per se, but it does become more compelling if the LHC (or Fermilab) discovers _something_. The most likely scenario is that the LHC (which comes online in 2007 or so) at CERN will discover some new things - supersymmetric particles, the Higgs, the physics that gives us neutrino masses, etc. The Linear Collider would then be used to study what's been discovered. If the LHC doesn't see anything interesting (which most physicists think is unlikely, because of various arguments, but it's possible), then the Linear Collider will be a lot less useful. But there are a LOT of different ideas for what the LHC could discover - it doesn't all hinge on testing one particular model.

From the physicists' point of view, though, you don't want to wait that long. Say the LHC starts in 2007 (though such projects are often delayed) and discovers something by 2009. Then you start a proposal for the Linear Collider, which you finalize by 2012. Then you build it, and it's working in 2020. That's a LONG wait! These projects take so long that physicists want to get the ball rolling and construction started ASAP.

What do we get out of this? (2, Insightful)

McCall (212035) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038585)

The article and talks a great deal about discovering the origins of matter. I am not a physicists so I really don't know the answer to why this takes precedence over other scientific problems, for example discovering a cure to cancer or AIDS?

3 billion is a lot of money, and I am sure there are AIDS or cancer researchers who badly need it, and I can actually see a benefit to humanity in those cases.

I am not against spending 3 billion on science just for the sake of improving humanity, in many cases we have discovered some wonderful things, but I was just wondering, are we going to say "Ah, that's how it works!" and then shut the machine down because there isn't a practical use for knowing the origins of matter or are there projects to actually make use of the results in the pipeline?

Answers. (5, Insightful)

SKorvus (685199) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038690)

You're absolutely right: humanity is facing some immediate, pressing problems: the environment, overpopulation, soil & water depletion, and disease as you mentioned.

For the most part however, these are human problems, with human solutions. We know what causes overpopulation, and that in turn results in environmental damage, starvation etc. We also know what causes AIDs; and its spread is more a result of governmental unwillingness to educate their populations and promote safe sexual practices, than lack of medical technology. Likewise, cancer is largely a Western disease, and diet & lifestyle plays a large part in the likelihood one gets it: it's for the most part preventable.

But here we are, in a Universe. While we've made significant progress, we still don't really know what the hell it is. What are the rules? What makes everything happen? How did it come to be? Pursuing the answers to these fundamental questions is natural human curiosity, and the same drive that has led to many of our other scientific and technological advancements.

Knowing the answers may not be of use to the average person, other than possibly having another neat formula to put on T-shirts. But having a complete model of how the universe works, may result in many spin-off technologies. I'm speculating, but they may include things like quantum propulsion, true nanoscale engineering, new materials development... who knows.

Politicians are going to be idiots and let people die of preventable diseases, breed until they wipe out the natural world, etc. But should particle physicists simple twiddle their thumbs while humanity consumes itself; or busy themselves seeking a better understanding of the cosmos we inhabit, and perhaps giving us better tools to improve our world and ourselves?

Because other sciences hang off physics (5, Insightful)

panurge (573432) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038741)

Cutting edge physics research cannot be guaranteed to have spin offs. This is because real science is (duh) experimental. However, let's just follow through one particular train of thought:
  1. Research into cancer and AIDS is a branch of biochemistry.
  2. Biochemistry depends on science like DNA sequencing and protein folding
  3. DNA sequencing and protein folding need fast computers
  4. Fast computers need leading-edge engineering and physics.
  5. The structure of DNA was clarified partly as a result of X-ray analysis
  6. The discovery of X-rays was a byproduct of pure research into conduction of electricity in gases
We have no way to be certain that deeper insights into the fundamental structure of matter will contribute to solving other biological problems - but we have no ay to find out other than to do it.

You might also like to consider that $3billion is less than drug companies spend on advertising and promotion every year.

Another sub TeV Collider (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038590)

From what I understand, we need at least 1 Trillion eV collisions in order to judge whether or not the higgs particle or supersymmetry are physical realities. But for the press releases,I get the impression that this project, at least in the eralier stages, is only meant to act as support for the LHC (i.e. refined versions of sub-TeV experiments done there). Why not ,go for the big prize right away?

Re:Another sub TeV Collider (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038663)

Energy isn't everything; you can do things with electron-positron colliders that you can't with proton colliders like the LHC. For instance [europhysicsnews.com] ,

Because electrons and positrons produce collisions that are much "cleaner," they are viewed to have certain advantages above the colliding protons in the LHC for investigating energies above those reached by LEP. There is much less background, and the production rates for new particles or events are not that different from the known production rates, says Peter Zerwas, a theorist at DESY, the German particle physics laboratory near Hamburg. "You can project out the new physics elements much easier," he adds. The strength of the LHC will be as an exploratory machine, says John Ellis, a theorist at CERN.

Re:Another sub TeV Collider (4, Informative)

vondo (303621) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038872)

Not quite. The Higgs and SSM particles are expected to be less than 1 TeV in mass. With a proton collider, you need a lot of extra energy because you produce many, many, other particles. But, because they are easier to build and have higher collision rates, they are ideal discovery machines.

With an electron-positron collider, you can make these new particles singly or in pairs and use up all the energy, so they are great for doing detailed studies of the particle in question.

I Remember... (1)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038757)

...An article in the times that was basically the top 10 things that can kill us all, I can't remember what number it got to but it was on there. anybody know if these things are safer now, or what makes them so dangerous?

What they'll probably do first... (1)

thephotoman (791574) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038813)

They'll probably start colliding particles in order to find a graviton. Though the particle has been postulated, and its properties have been mapped out (they have different theories for different models of the universe--one for point-particle, one for string-particle), they've yet to observe it. Frankly, what would be really cool is if they were able to observe a disappearing graviton, with the proper distortion waves in space to at least postulate that the graviton has left our brane (see M Theory for an explaination of what a brane is).

Now that would be quite interesting, no?

Re:What they'll probably do first... (2, Informative)

jpflip (670957) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038885)

That's probably not the first thing they'll do, but not because it's not interesting. In most theories, the energies needed to directly explore quantum gravity (string theory, M-theory, etc.) in this way are more than 15 orders of magnitude higher than this accelerator can achieve. The first order of business is to look for physics at the TeV energy scale, such as the Higgs boson and supersymmetry.

There will, of course, also be people sifting through the data looking for the things you describe - low-energy effects of quantum gravity, evidence for extra dimensions, and so forth. People are already looking for such things in Tevatron data.

how this works (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10038830)

FROM A PHYSICIST:

First Why. Natural Science is a lot like mining. Physicists discover things about nature. They attempt to put together an idea of how the fundamental works, both large and small, and create methods to predict phenomena based on these ideas. Applied Physicists and Engineers then take this knowledge and ask themselves the question "How might I use this for mankinds advantage". A simple example is the transister. The transistor could be the most powerful invention of the last century. But, without the knowledge of quantum mechanics discovered by natural physicists the transistor would never be. Natural physicists mine for the knowledge that will be later used for application. Their are countless examples of this from maxwell and wireless applicatons, certainly quantum mechanics and solid state technology, and even general relativity and GPS satellites.

Second Linear Collider vs SSC, etc: The linear collider is not a discovery machine per se. It is a precision measurement machine meant to refine knowledge about discoveries that will be made by the Large Hadron Collider which is being built in Europe. Natural physics isn't about finding a particle alone. This does nothing for us. It's about building and understanding a model of nature that can later be used to predict phenomena as accurately as possible. Neither of these machines is focused on a single particle (HIGGS, SUSY, etc.) Saying so is the equivalent of saying we're building a workbench to put together only rocking chairs. Our 'workbench' is an experiment meant to study interactions spanning the entire current model of nature. It is an expensive tool, but keep in mind once it is built it will last 20-30 years (fermilab as an example). I don't believe it's very expensice considering this keeps the flow of technology rolling.

Superconducting: The magnets proposed are revolutionary because they will be at 2 kelvin. Fermilab operates at 70+.

Hello, this is CERN... (3, Funny)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 10 years ago | (#10038939)

and we pronounce linacs as 'linacs'.
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