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Ask Slashdot: Should Scientists Build a New Particle Collider In Japan? 292

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cue-godzilla-jokes dept.
gbrumfiel writes "The world's most powerful particle collider ended an epic proton run yesterday morning, and researchers are already looking to the future. They want to build a 31-kilometer, multi-billion-dollar International Linear Collider (ILC) to study the recently-discovered Higgs boson in more detail and to look for new things as well. Japan has recently emerged as the front-runner to host the new collider. The Liberal Democratic Party, which won this weekend's elections, actually support the ILC in its party platform. But it's not yet clear whether real money will be forthcoming, or whether European and American physicists will back a Japanese bid. What do Slashdotters think? Does particle physics need a new collider? Should it go to Japan?"
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Ask Slashdot: Should Scientists Build a New Particle Collider In Japan?

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  • by telchine (719345) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @09:25AM (#42324515)

    99% of comments will be ill-informed. You won't be able to identify the 1% which are well informed

    Yeah, I will, they'll have +5 Informative written next to them. What... don't you trust the Slashdot moderation system? Oh... wait!

  • Re:Bernard's Law ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @09:37AM (#42324607)

    The ILC is a completely different design, with completely different goals. Previously, about 15 years ago, we had a hadron collider (the Tevatron) and a lepton collider (the LEP). The LEP was used as a basis to build the LHC; so now we have just hadron colliders (DESY is dual, but its energy range is way below the current frontier). A lepton collider gives us a way cleaner signal for weak and electromagnetic interactions, but gives us almost no insight on strong interactions; a hadron collider gives us a totally messy result, which includes a lot of strong interactions and noise-level channels for electroweak.In fact, at the LHC's energies, you see mostly gluon-gluon collisions, not even quark-quark. So, to actually see precisely the Higgs and measure its mass, a lepton collider would be great. A lepton collider would also give a clearer picture of wether there is something beyond the standard model (up to about half its center-of-mass collision energy at least), so al of us theoretical physicists would LOVE to have one.

    However, accelerating electrons and positrons in a curved path is very, very, VERY hard. They lose their energy about a million times quicker than protons; so, to get to TeV levels, the collider should be linear. Accelerating stuff in a linear collider is very, very hard (note: "only" two "very"s here) because you need to give it its energy on a shorter space (while a conventional collider would do so over lots of cycles). So, its engineering won't be easy, but we will get a lot of insights on both particle physics and electromagnetism (to accelerate the damn electrons); that electromagnetism expertise could be used, for example, for high speed trains.

    We absolutely should build a lepton linear collider. Whether it's in Japan or in the US (putting the Fermilab's infrastructure to good use), it will teach us a lot that the LHC can't.

  • by Isarian (929683) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @09:40AM (#42324641)

    When will people stop publishing news articles saying "the Higgs has been confirmed to exist"? This is driving me bat-shit insane. No, the Higgs has NOT necessarily been discovered. Particles have been observed in the LHC at energy levels that match the expected characteristics of the Higgs, but we DO NOT KNOW if it is the standard model Higgs or just something else that looks like it. Goddamn.

    Read more: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/342408/description/Higgs_hysteria [sciencenews.org]

  • by grimJester (890090) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @09:41AM (#42324657)
    The ILC would be able to measure properties of the Higgs more accurately than the LHC, but before the LHC has ran at 13 or 14 TeV for a while we don't know if there's other interesting stuff to see.

    If the LHC finds something new and the ILC has too low energy to produce it, it's wasted. Obviously those results would come long before the ILC is even close to finished, but it's important to keep options open until we know better. In addition there are other proposals for Higgs factories that would be cheaper to implement. Without new discoveries at the LHC the ILC may be pointless.
  • by Tobenisstinky (853306) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @11:17AM (#42325639)

    Outline of Japan superimposed on the US...

    http://mapfrappe.com/?show=7849 [mapfrappe.com]

  • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Informative)

    by V for Vendetta (1204898) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @02:09PM (#42327725)

    When was the last time a quake of any significant magnitude hit Europe?

    Depending on what you define as "significant", Italy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_earthquakes_in_Italy/ [wikipedia.org]) and Turkey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_earthquakes_in_Turkey [wikipedia.org]) immediately come to mind. Both countries experience earthquakes quite regularly.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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