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posted by girlwhowaspluggedout on Sunday March 02 2014, @12:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the superconducting-supercollider-2-turbo-championship-edition dept.

regift_of_the_gods writes:

"Particle physicists are pondering the successor for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the 27 km (circumference) tunnel on the Franco-Swiss border which has produced experimental data to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson. CERN recently announced it was studying several proposals for a next generation hadron collider; perhaps the most intriguing was TLEP, an enormous (80-100 km) circular collider to be built adjacent to the LHC, that would pass below Lake Geneva. A group of physicists mostly associated with Texas A&M University have counterproposed reviving the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC), a partly-built 87 km circular collider south of Dallas that was abandoned in 1993 after Congress cancelled the project.

The Texas A&M physicists argue that a completed SSC would be powerful enough to generate the Higgs boson in quantities that would allow detailed study (a 'Higgs Factory' in the authors' words), while saving money relative to competing proposals since 45 percent of the tunnel has already been drilled. But then it gets real interesting; the authors propose an additional tunnel, an enormous 270 km circumference collider that would encircle the city of Dallas. Protons would be accelerated in the SSC tunnel for injection into the hadron collider."

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Sunday March 02 2014, @01:02PM

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 02 2014, @01:02PM (#9570) Journal

    When considering that as alternative to the CERN project, it is at a distinct disadvantage: Past experience teaches that there's a danger that funding is cancelled midway, leaving you completely without a collider, but with lots of money wasted. Meanwhile CERN has a track record of finishing its colliders.

    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by VLM on Sunday March 02 2014, @01:36PM

    by VLM (445) on Sunday March 02 2014, @01:36PM (#9588)

    "but with lots of money wasted"

    As a political project in the USA, there's no such thing as money wasted. If you brought X jobs to your district because an employer in your district is the official supplier of toilet paper for the SSC, you've "won" no matter what happens to the collider. See NASA.

    That is the primary problem. In the USA it'll be implemented as a jobs program. CERN is actually aiming at running a scientific experiment. You'll get what you try to implement... In the USA there will be people in every congressional district hired and votes bought and re-election funds gained. The experiment may of course never work or never be completed but thats OK. So the .eu will surely win by any scientific measure.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by LargeMythicalReptile on Sunday March 02 2014, @05:31PM

      by LargeMythicalReptile (2405) on Sunday March 02 2014, @05:31PM (#9670)

      Sadly, yes; there's jobs created, and "jobs created". Politicians need to realize that a large number of jobs created is both a benefit (to those who get the jobs) and a cost (to those who pay for it). And the system encourages getting the benefits in one's own district while distributing the cost.

      As for reviving the SSC, Neil DeGrasse Tyson discussed [] the original defunding and the subsequent building of the LHC. His point is essentially that as a scientist, he doesn't care where science gets done as long as it gets done--but as an American, he'd sort of prefer that it was done in America.

      I'm in an academic field where a lot (certainly not all, but a lot) of the strongest researchers are in the US; I know a number of people from all over the world who came to the US for graduate school, and then stayed afterwards. As it currently stands, many bright young particle physicists are ending up in Europe; had the SSC been completed they likely would have ended up in the US. Having a bunch of smart people decide to live in your country will bring both direct and indirect benefits (economic and otherwise). I don't really know anything about the economics of reviving the SSC, but that should certainly be a factor.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:04PM

        by VLM (445) on Sunday March 02 2014, @10:04PM (#9765)

        "and then stayed afterwards" what like illegals, LOL?

        The USA is notoriously brutal in treatment of legal immigrants. This would be something of a problem, a lot of people don't want to deal with the paperwork and security theater, so "cool stuff" gets done outside the US borders, preferably in .eu

        • (Score: 1) by mrchew1982 on Monday March 03 2014, @12:48AM

          by mrchew1982 (3565) on Monday March 03 2014, @12:48AM (#9841)

          "The USA is notoriously brutal in treatment of legal immigrants"

          Especially in Texas, where being a redneck is a matter of pride. They have had quite the invasion of liberals from Kalifornia, but my understanding is that most of the liberally minded end up in Austin, not Dallas. Of course they are being colonized full-steam by Mexico (which isn't necessarily a bad thing IMHO).

    • (Score: 1) by NovelUserName on Sunday March 02 2014, @11:33PM

      by NovelUserName (768) on Sunday March 02 2014, @11:33PM (#9823)

      As a scientist I can tell you that the US does a pretty good job of getting $ to people doing research. The problem seems to creep in when the project becomes large enough that it becomes Political. Funding a multi-billion dollar project with no tangible product is a tough sell. Unless someone can point to the LHC and say "See? Big accelerator projects do x, y, and z for the country that owns them" The US won't fund the project. Even after that hurdle, the US would absolutely build a jobs program not a science program. The plus side is that NASA shows that you CAN do science with a jobs program- it's just not going to be optimally efficient.