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After the Large Hadron Collider, what?

Peter Woit suggests at Not Even Wrong,

For many years now discussion in the HEP community of what might be the appropriate next machine to try and finance and build after the LHC has centered around the idea of a linear electron-positron collider. The logic has been that an electron-positron machine would provide a much better environment that the LHC for detailed studies of physics at the TeV scale. At these energies, synchrotron radiation losses when accelerating electrons are so high in a circular geometry that such a machine would have to be a linear collider to keep the power needed something plausible. The two main proposals under study have been the ILC (250 GeV + 250 GeV, later upgradeable to 500 GeV + 500 GeV) and, a less mature technology, CLIC (1.5 TeV + 1.5 TeV). These would be very expensive machines to build and operate ($10 billion and up?), requiring completely new technology, tunnels and detectors. More.

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3 Responses to After the Large Hadron Collider, what?

  1. 1

    How about after they’re done playing with the LHC we take a break and focus our attention and money on something that’s actually important, like colonizing Mars so we’re not doomed in the event of a planetary catastrophe, or wiping out malaria or world hunger or something? Does finding one more useless particle really benefit humanity in any tangible way?

  2. Well, that’s a good question. I suspect that if we want to go further then Mars we’ll need to know a bit more about particles in general. So what might seem useless right now could power the “warp drive” thing that gets us across the galaxy in less then a long long time.

    Apparently the next iteration of the LHC could be built alongside the existing LHC, saving much money.

  3. 3

    “I suspect that if we want to go further then Mars we’ll need to know a bit more about particles in general.”

    We’re not even on Mars now. Not only that, we’ve been stuck in low orbit for four decades and even that is barely hanging on by a thread. The obsolete when it was new space shuttle is retired and the US has nothing to replace it, and the Russians are using antiquated rockets to ferry people to and from the monumentally scaled back ISS. The $10+ being spent on highly unlikely warp drive research for 2200 can be put to better use now. A space shuttle replacement could be developed, research into thorium fueled nuclear reactors to prevent a future energy crisis, or improving the nutrition of third world nations to save tens of millions of lives now, not in several centuries.

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