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
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones