Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Reincarnation of the Superconducting Supercollider?

This blog entry at Physics World presents an intriguing prospect at resurrecting high energy particle collider experiments in the US by reusing and re purposing the existing grounds in Texas that was meant for the failed Superconducting Supercollider facility.

However, a group of US physicists from Texas A&M University and Michigan State University is now proposing to wrestle back the energy frontier by constructing a huge accelerator in the US.

In a paper posted on the arXiv preprint server today, the researchers outline plans to use the partly constructed tunnel of the axed Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) just outside Dallas, Texas. Conceived in 1983, the SSC was to be the next big particle collider with a circumference of 87 km and a maximum collision energy of 40 TeV. But 10 years later the all-American project was cancelled, largely on grounds of cost, leaving a few buildings on the surface as well as tens of kilometres of tunnels deep underground.

Most of the cost of a new collider would be in excavating the tunnel, but the researchers claim that around 46% of the SSC tunnel has been already bored and some facilities built, such as the linear accelerator that feeds particles into the collider. This would then make it much cheaper than the CERN proposal.
If you continue reading the article, there are really seriously BIG proposals being mentioned here, up to a 270 km tunnel and 300 TeV machine!

I will admit that I am highly skeptical that the US will consider such a thing, at least, not under the current funding climate. I think they are a lot more organized at CERN, and with the wishy-washy political situation here in the US, having a center in Europe that is more "stable" is so much more preferred, especially considering that whatever this facility will be, it will involved a multi-national endeavor due to its expected astounding cost.

I'd love to be wrong with this one.


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