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Old 22-02-2019, 01:45 PM
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China mulls over proposal to build world's largest particle accelerator

Éanna Kelly at Science Business today reports on how China is
mulling over a proposal to build the world's largest particle accelerator.

Originally Posted by Éanna Kelly, Science Business
Scientists around the globe have drawn up a variety of plans for new colliders that would dwarf what is currently the world’s largest accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), run by CERN in Switzerland.

Both China and Europe are competing on similar proposals to build, over the next decade, a 100-kilometre-looped facility almost four times longer and ten times more powerful than the LHC.

“We’re still in a phase of trying to convince the government to fund the construction,” said Wang Yifang, director of the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing, which put together the Chinese proposal.

If given the go-ahead, the accelerator would cement the country’s metamorphosis into a scientific juggernaut. “If you have first tier projects, like this one, you will attract international researchers and students,” Wang said.

The Circular Electron–Positron Collider would smash electrons and their evil-twin opposites – positrons – at 240 billion electron volts, according to a conceptual plan released last November. Initial funding for research and development has come from the Chinese government.

Scientists say they could begin constructing the estimated €5-6 billion machine by 2022 and have it ready to run by about 2030. The new facility would mainly chase the most famous subatomic particle in physics — the Higgs boson – and would succeed the Beijing Electron Positron Collider, which is expected to shut in the 2020s.

A final decision on the next-generation accelerator may not come for another few years, Wang said. “We want to wait until the definite decision of the government before a site is picked.”

For Wang, having several competing proposals on the go is a good thing. “If no one was interested in similar ideas, our government would have some doubt that this project was necessary,” he said.

But he added, government officials “May worry about which project is going ahead. I cannot say exactly what they have in their mind.”

Closest to inception in the race to host the next accelerator is the International Linear Collider in northern Japan, a proposed facility that would be more than 20 kilometres long. The Japanese government is expected to take a decision on whether it wants to host – and stump up cash for – the machine by March 7.

And at CERN, the concept for another looped tunnel, the Future Circular Collider, published in January, lays out different types of collider ranging in cost from around €9 billion to €21 billion.
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