This article describes briefly the need for the International Linear Collider, and why the US is losing its grip on its ability to build one. It is another indication of the sad state of high energy physics in the US.
To physicists, a circular collider like the one at CERN is like a telescope, Brau says. It reveals where all sorts of new particles hang out like a telescope discovering new stars. But a straight-line linear collider like the ILC is more of a microscope. It offers very precise views of what is going on at pre-set magnifications, locations that have to be revealed by the circular collider discoveries.Japan wants to build it, Europe wants to build it, and Russia wants to build it. The ILC effort in the US, on the other hand, is languishing in a sea of uncertain funding. While this describes science funding in general in the US, the high energy physics, and the ILC in particular, has not had that much of a financial support.
If this track continues, the next big particle physics experiment would not be built on US soil. Now, this may not mean much to those who don't have a clue on such an impact, but it means that it will be DECADES dramatic impact. This is because the planning of such a facility now takes at least a decade. Construction adds another several years. You just can't get back into the game that easily and that quickly. Not having the ILC in the US means that it will be another 20-30 years before it can even be considered to host another such large-scale facility. That is a very long time to go without.