Tuesday, 1 April 2014

April Fools'14: 100 TeV collider in the US

Another  good news for high-energy physics: the United States intend to build a new circular proton-proton collider. The plan is to use the existing tunnel in Waxahachie, Texas that was constructed for the SSC collider project canceled in 1993. Thanks to the recent progress in superconducting magnet technology, the new machine, dubbed the NSSC, will be able to reach a much larger center-of-mass energy than originally planned for the SSC. The pre-TDR document released today quotes 80 TeV collision energy with possible upgrades to 100 TeV, which would put it on par with the similar project at CERN. The decision  was first announced at the HEPAP meeting two weeks ago  and today the news article was posted on the DOE web site. The article quotes Ernest Moniz, the US Secretary of Energy,  "We have all we need: the technology, the know-how, and even the tunnel, so it's only natural that we're going to do it".  

This move may be surprising, given the recent funding cuts on fundamental research.  One can speculate that some big politics must be involved. The decision seems to be a response to the quickly advancing plans of building a new high energy collider in China. Apparently, losing the scientific leadership to China would be a too bitter pill to swallow.

Update: This post is obviously an April Fools' joke: the SSC won't be back no more. But the Chinese thingy may well  be for real. The way the wind is blowing, we should start learning Mandarin...