Saturday, 23 February 2013

Physicists team up in Vancouver to build a new particle collider

Physicists team up in Vancouver to build a new particle collider: "Some of the world’s greatest minds have collided in Vancouver and agreed to build a new US$7.78-billion particle collider that will help answer some of the universe’s deepest secrets.
The physicists had until Thursday been designing two separate particle colliders, known as linear colliders.
The colliders were expected to hurl billions of electrons at positrons — their anti-particles — along kilometre-long superconducting cavities at nearly the speed of light.
Timothy Meyer of TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, said the results of those collisions would help scientists answer questions related to the Big Bang and the evolution of the universe.
But Meyer said the physicists met at TRIUMF in Vancouver and agreed to form a team to develop a new particle accelerator.
“Everyone wants this collider to go forward, and the technology or which one is which is sort of a secondary concern,” he said. “It’s like everyone is going to start rowing in the same direction.”
He said the meeting also marks the transition between the design and development phases of the new accelerator, which scientists hope will complement a similar accelerator already operating in Europe.
Work at the Swiss accelerator led to announcement last year that a new particle had been found that needs further study to determine whether it’s the Higgs particle.
For more than two generations, scientists have been hunting for the Higgs particle, which many believe is a missing piece in the Standard Model of Particle Physics and will help shape human understanding of the universe’s origins.
According to a media statement issued by the new team, known as the Linear Collider Collaboration, the new accelerator will deliver “cleaner” collisions between electrons and positrons, and probe deeper into the particle discovered at the Swiss facility.
The team said the collider will also help scientists study other phenomena of physics.
A late-afternoon news conference at TRIUMF heard the collider will cost about US$7.78 billion, although costs dealing with site preparation, engineering design, local taxes and operation costs have not been included in that figure.
Lyn Evans, director of the Linear Collider Collaboration, said he expects proponents to take two to three years to negotiate agreements to build the collider and another 10 for construction.
The current European site is not a candidate for construction, he added, and Japan is showing the most interest in hosting the new facility."

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