"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."
I'm truly a fan of science that probes the deep questions. The more we learn about the universe the more exciting it is to be a small part of it. However, is there other expensive and technically challenging projects that should have a priority for physicists now?
Of course, I understand we can do more than one thing but if money is tight where should we put it? For example, should we be building experimental platforms in space for finding gravity waves or attempting to find evidence for branes or strings? (Note: I'm probably not remembering my readings right, but I believe very large in length or distance between measurement points, isolated devices are need to directly measure any of the predications from these theories.)
I guess the question is: if you had choice, what other expensive science projects should be funded?
(PS: keep the good stories coming SN!)