Cern scientists plan new atom collider

Scientists behind the European atom smasher aimed at uncovering the secrets of the universe want to build an even bigger machine with partners and funds from around the world.

Scientists from CERN - the European Organisation for Nuclear Research - a particle physics laboratory outside Geneva, Switzerland, will spell out their ambitions at a conference in Paris today.

They are reaching out to China, India and Russia to help fund the next £8.5 billion step of the project, according to Guy Wormser, a leading particle physicist and one of the conference organisers.

Instead of whirling atoms in giant rings, as CERN's Large Hadron Collider and the smaller Tevatron at Fermilab, near Chicago, do, scientists want a new-generation machine that will shoot them straight.

The new machine would be a successor to the £7 billion LHC, which was launched with great fanfare in September 2008, but days later was sidetracked by overheating that set off a chain of problems.

CERN had to undertake a £26 million programme of repairs and improvements before restarting the machine last November. Since then the collider has reported a series of successes.

In March it saw the first collisions of two proton beams.

Plans for the next step, a 31-mile tunnel called the International Linear Collider, have long been under discussion and scientists now need to find funding, Mr Wormser said. They hope the machine could be turned on in 2020 or 2025.

With the LHC "we made a machine which allowed us to make a big leap in understanding, a sort of enlightener, and now we study and detail things and that's the linear collider", he said. "It's the future of our discipline."

Instead of crashing protons together, the new international collider will accelerate electrons and positrons, their antimatter equivalent, he said.

Depending on who wants to host it - and how much they are willing to pay - the ILC could potentially be built anywhere in the world.

The experiments of both machines are more about shaping our understanding of how the universe was created than immediate improvements to technology in our daily lives.

Scientists are attempting to simulate the moments after the Big Bang nearly 14 billion years ago, which they believe was the creation of the universe.

In March, the LHC produced a tiny bang, the most potent force on the tiny atomic level that humans have ever created.

Two beams of protons were sent hurtling in opposite directions toward each other in a 17-mile tunnel below the Swiss-French border - the coldest place in the universe at slightly above absolute zero.

CERN used powerful superconducting magnets to force the two beams to cross; two of the protons collided, producing seven trillion electron volts.

The latest results of those experiments will be presented at the International Conference on High Energy Physics, which is bringing 1,000 physicists to Paris this week.

Today Mr Wormser and other leading scientists would speak about their search for the Higgs boson, a hypothetical particle - often called the God particle - that scientists think gives mass to other particles and thus to other objects and creatures in the universe.

The colliders also may help scientists see dark matter, the strange stuff that makes up more of the universe than normal matter but has not been seen on Earth.



Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
News
Stephen Hawking is reportedly taking steps to trademark his name
people
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Buyer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award winning IT company are currently re...

Recruitment Genius: IT Account Manager

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor