CERN Might Build a 60-Mile-Long Particle Accelerator

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CERN Might Build a 60-Mile-Long Particle Accelerator

The proposed atom smasher would completely encircle Geneva.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known by the name CERN, wants to build a new particle accelerator that would effectively dwarf the Large Hadron Collider.

The new accelerator, when complete, would measure 60 miles in diameter, and it would encircle all of Geneva, Switzerland. In comparison, CERN's LHC measures 17 miles in diameter. The 60-mile diameter, according to the BBC, would "reach to the Alps in the east, the Jura mountains in the west and even go under Lake Geneva."

CERN Large Hadron Collider Atlas

CERN's LHC is a new facility, as it's only been collecting data since 2009. But planning for the collider goes all the way back to 1983 -- a 26-year gap -- so a new, larger collider would need considerable lead-in time before becoming fully operational.

Planning and development for the new CERN collider will take years, with a goal of having the facility operation before the LHC goes dark in 2035. A five-year study has just been started, which will be followed by another five-year period used to settle on a design, secure a specific site, and of course find the cash for such an endeavor. That would leave about ten years for construction.

A dollar figure isn't even being considered at the moment, but it's sure to be astronomical. "Any number you mention will be wrong, and worse it will be remembered forever," said CERN General Director Dr. Rolf Heuer.

Five years is a long time to wait for news on the new proposed collider, much less 20 years for the facility to come online, but at least we have the LHC to admire in the meantime.

Permalink

I'll prepare my microwave to send text messages back in time

Well these things have to be planned ahead a lot, it's a huge project, lots of funding has to be sought etc. Hell, the people working there when it's finished might not be in school yet.

So... the LHC stands for Large Hadron Collider...

What are they going to call this? The EHC? Enormous Hadron Collider?

(Also, maths error in the news title - if the accelerator has a diameter of 60 miles, then it's about 90 miles long.)

Use_Imagination_here:
Well these things have to be planned ahead a lot, it's a huge project, lots of funding has to be sought etc. Hell, the people working there when it's finished might not be in school yet.

Or even born.

What I'm not understanding is how a significantly bigger particle accelerator would be any better. From what I understand, the LHC can already accelerate a particle to very nearly the speed of light. What does the extra 135 miles (188.5 mile circumference compared to the current 53.4 miles) of acceleration get you? 99.99999% light speed compared to only 99.999%? What practical differences would that achieve, and would those difference come anywhere close to justifying the cost?

Avaholic03:
What I'm not understanding is how a significantly bigger particle accelerator would be any better. From what I understand, the LHC can already accelerate a particle to very nearly the speed of light. What does the extra 135 miles (188.5 mile circumference compared to the current 53.4 miles) of acceleration get you? 99.99999% light speed compared to only 99.999%? What practical differences would that achieve, and would those difference come anywhere close to justifying the cost?

Just because the speed can't increase much more doesn't mean the energy involved won't. As you approach the speed of light, adding energy stops increasing the speed and starts increasing the mass instead.

Are these things actually for anything, or is it the scientific equivalent of shouting "Look at my dick! It's huge!" ?

Reed Spacer:
Are these things actually for anything, or is it the scientific equivalent of shouting "Look at my dick! It's huge!" ?

I'm honestly not sure how to answer this without sounding snarky so I'll just say yes, they are actually used for things. Fairly important things scientifically.

Given how European governments are currently so strapped for cash I suspect the only way this will happen within my lifetime is if CERN put this project up as a Kickstarter. In fact, all joking aside, a crowdfunding element might not be bad idea, even if it only raised a tiny fraction of the cost of the project it would still be money that wouldn't have to come out of tax receipts and would and might go some way to lessening the influences of contributing governments over how projects like this are run.

The only thing that concerns me about this project is whether they could feasibly power it's operation. The power consumption of the LHC is already a significant drain on energy capacity in the region - at one point (maybe even still, I havent checked) they had to restrict the times of year the LHC could operate at full capacity as the energy requrements exceeded the available excess in supply. Realistically a project of this size would probably require it's own generation capacity and that would not be easy to do.

Maybe they should should consider building this project in conjunction with the next set of test fusion reactors? Sure fusion isn't yet ecconomically viable but they will definatley be building more test reactors sooner or later and might as well use the output to power something.

Avaholic03:
What I'm not understanding is how a significantly bigger particle accelerator would be any better. From what I understand, the LHC can already accelerate a particle to very nearly the speed of light. What does the extra 135 miles (188.5 mile circumference compared to the current 53.4 miles) of acceleration get you? 99.99999% light speed compared to only 99.999%? What practical differences would that achieve, and would those difference come anywhere close to justifying the cost?

You're looking at it wrong. It's not about speed, it's about the energy of the collision. Because of relativity the closer you get to the speed of light, the higher the energy will be. For example, going from 99.999% of the speed of light to 99.99999% will result in 10 times more energy in the collision.

Also, the LHC has a circumference of 27km, (just under 17 miles), not diameter as the article states.

diameter of 60 fucking miles?!?!?! holy shit son, that is one big ass circle...

at least they are thinking long term with this, hopefully it'll bring about some great strides in the future for science!

The_Darkness:
(Also, maths error in the news title - if the accelerator has a diameter of 60 miles, then it's about 90 miles long.)

I'm pretty sure a 60 mile diameter circle has a (pi * 60 =) 188.5 mile circumference.

That's a big-ass accelerator.

It disturbs me how similar to a religious fanatic I sound like when I say this, but if its for science, I say go for it! Despite the fact that I barely understand the purposes behind particle accelerators!

I'm SURE we could list a whole bunch of useful shit this new scientific shit could be used for, but we should only need one reason for why we should build it: BECAUSE IT'S AWESOME.

Give them a blank check, tell them to fill it out. We're doin' this.

lacktheknack:

The_Darkness:
(Also, maths error in the news title - if the accelerator has a diameter of 60 miles, then it's about 90 miles long.)

I'm pretty sure a 60 mile diameter circle has a (pi * 60 =) 188.5 mile circumference.

That's a big-ass accelerator.

I... Yeah, that. How the heck did I get that formula wrong? I do Maths for a living!

Excuse me while I just go and inform my workplace that I am clearly no longer fit for duty...

Wow, they really have gone insane.

But hey if this brings us more SCIENCE! then I'm all for it.

So who's gonna pay for all of this?

The_Darkness:

lacktheknack:

The_Darkness:
(Also, maths error in the news title - if the accelerator has a diameter of 60 miles, then it's about 90 miles long.)

I'm pretty sure a 60 mile diameter circle has a (pi * 60 =) 188.5 mile circumference.

That's a big-ass accelerator.

I... Yeah, that. How the heck did I get that formula wrong? I do Maths for a living!

Excuse me while I just go and inform my workplace that I am clearly no longer fit for duty...

Hey, don't worry about it. I once made the mistake of claiming the sun was about 9 million years old when I wasn't thinking. I felt kinda like a creationist when someone pointed out that mistake to me.

bmdunham:
I'll prepare my microwave to send text messages back in time

Be careful though, you don't want to shift the divergence line too far from the gate.

Reed Spacer:
Are these things actually for anything, or is it the scientific equivalent of shouting "Look at my dick! It's huge!" ?

Bit of both actually.

It's kinda like space telescopes where size will help you (In the case of a telescope a bigger mirror will help resolving very faint objects, while an accelerator needs to be hilariously big because of the enormous energies needed), but at the same time because they're so big they can be a political pissing contest (Like the Keck Observatory being the largest telescope in the world but the European VLT has the capability to become the largest virtual mirror thanks to its interferometer).

I hope this will lead to a discovery of time travel, so they can go back in time and give me my hover car yesterday!! Oh and a hoverboard later this afternoon.

OT: Are they going to repurpose the LHC after it is replaced with this HHC(huge hadron collider) I wonder if the super magnets that the LHC uses would ever come into civilian use, don't get me wrong MRIs are great but I'd love to play around with one of those things.

Oh yeah,great,lets raise the debt of the already troubled E.U. countries by trilions of Euros for the next 4-5 decades,great idea.

Stavros Dimou:
Oh yeah,great,lets raise the debt of the already troubled E.U. countries by trilions of Euros for the next 4-5 decades,great idea.

FOR SCIENCE!!!

Seriously. Why do you have to be such an economic spoilsport.

Beancounters should just GTFO when it comes to exciting scientific discovery.

Stavros Dimou:
Oh yeah,great,lets raise the debt of the already troubled E.U. countries by trilions of Euros for the next 4-5 decades,great idea.

Eh, by the time the thing gets going, the problems should be solved, or the Europeans will be eating each other's brains anyway. Would be a useful stimulus anyway.

...

But...no. Another one? Half of everyone on the net spending days arguing over whether or not it'll kill the world?

bmdunham:
I'll prepare my microwave to send text messages back in time

Drenik:

Be careful though, you don't want to shift the divergence line too far from the gate.

With the Enormous Hadron Collider, we will finally stop Superman from reversing the rotation of the world and erasing our mem-

Reed Spacer:
Are these things actually for anything, or is it the scientific equivalent of shouting "Look at my dick! It's huge!" ?

Well I guess you could say it's called the Large Hardon Collider for a reason.

MrFalconfly:

Stavros Dimou:
Oh yeah,great,lets raise the debt of the already troubled E.U. countries by trilions of Euros for the next 4-5 decades,great idea.

FOR SCIENCE!!!

Seriously. Why do you have to be such an economic spoilsport.

Beancounters should just GTFO when it comes to exciting scientific discovery.

I admire science exploration,I just think that putting so much money on one thing like that isn't worth it.
And ok,my idea of "why don't they use all that money to feed the people instead" might seem too much on the 'left' side and I respect the disagreement,even though I don't consider my self a 'left' guy.
But what's more is the fact that even if we get to know more things about how the world is working,making use of the knowledge is an entirely different subject,because often other interests get in the way.

Think about that: Science has led humanity to be able to produce machines that suck sea water,filter it,and output it perfectly clear and drinkable. Yet instead you have countries that have reach to the sea and are otherwise dry,and instead of making plants for water filtering so they can have unlimited water to drink from the sea,they import bottled water from other countries,something that ends up being insufficient and more expensive in the long term. And there are also so many countries that import electricity through wires,while they could make use of wind generators to have unlimited electricity for a cheap subscription for everyone.

So you have to factor in that even if some huge scientific discovery will happen that might have the potential of changing peoples life,it just won't change them,just because.There are people in Africa that live without water to drink and don't know what electricity is,while they could have unlimited drinkable water and electricity.

Stavros Dimou:

MrFalconfly:

Stavros Dimou:
Oh yeah,great,lets raise the debt of the already troubled E.U. countries by trilions of Euros for the next 4-5 decades,great idea.

FOR SCIENCE!!!

Seriously. Why do you have to be such an economic spoilsport.

Beancounters should just GTFO when it comes to exciting scientific discovery.

I admire science exploration,I just think that putting so much money on one thing like that isn't worth it.
And ok,my idea of "why don't they use all that money to feed the people instead" might seem too much on the 'left' side and I respect the disagreement,even though I don't consider my self a 'left' guy.
But what's more is the fact that even if we get to know more things about how the world is working,making use of the knowledge is an entirely different subject,because often other interests get in the way.

Think about that: Science has led humanity to be able to produce machines that suck sea water,filter it,and output it perfectly clear and drinkable. Yet instead you have countries that have reach to the sea and are otherwise dry,and instead of making plants for water filtering so they can have unlimited water to drink from the sea,they import bottled water from other countries,something that ends up being insufficient and more expensive in the long term. And there are also so many countries that import electricity through wires,while they could make use of wind generators to have unlimited electricity for a cheap subscription for everyone.

So you have to factor in that even if some huge scientific discovery will happen that might have the potential of changing peoples life,it just won't change them,just because.There are people in Africa that live without water to drink and don't know what electricity is,while they could have unlimited drinkable water and electricity.

I understand your stance (and from the yanks point of view I'm a leftie myself, even though I' fairly rightwing in my country).

However as I see it we are in a race against the next extinction event. Such an event can only be averted (or survived) with the appropriate level of tech (be it mass volcanic like the PT-extinction, Meteor strike like the KT-extinction or a GRB like in the Ordovician-Silurian extinction).

Tech which can be developed from the latest knowledge of high-energy physics (because standard Newtonian mechanics wont get us off this planet in a hurry).

In any case the only way we solve the shite happening in Somalia is if we pull our fingers out of our collective arses and send an Armed Taskforce to remove the antagonistic elements from that country.

this sounds like the plot of full metal alchemist if the population of geneva suddenly and inexplicably disappears its safe to say i called it

Reed Spacer:
Are these things actually for anything, or is it the scientific equivalent of shouting "Look at my dick! It's huge!" ?

Two questions:

1) Why do you think the LHC would have been funded and built if it weren't for something?

2) If you're already on the Internet and all it would take to answer your question is the effort to type a few words in a Google search, why are you asking that question here?

Just to give you some perspective, I'm actually running a research project right now, and I've been paying for the entire thing out of my own pocket. I still have to justify the research and show that there is a good reason to do it before my institution will let me.

McMullen:

Reed Spacer:
Are these things actually for anything, or is it the scientific equivalent of shouting "Look at my dick! It's huge!" ?

Two questions:

1) Why do you think the LHC would have been funded and built if it weren't for something?

2) If you're already on the Internet and all it would take to answer your question is the effort to type a few words in a Google search, why are you asking that question here?

Just to give you some perspective, I'm actually running a research project right now, and I've been paying for the entire thing out of my own pocket. I still have to justify the research and show that there is a good reason to do it before my institution will let me.

It's called humour . The fact that the wording of my post didn't make that clear to you in that respect worries me.

Speaking of Google searches...

Geez, I hope Europe has recovered financially by the time they come up with a cost estimate, or I imagine it'll be hard to find nations to fund the thing. Understandable that they plan these things decades in advance though.

Reed Spacer:

It's called humour . The fact that the wording of my post didn't make that clear to you in that respect worries me.

Speaking of Google searches...

4/10 on the humour; also wording of the "joke" implied lack of knowledge about the LHC.

dyre:
Geez, I hope Europe has recovered financially by the time they come up with a cost estimate, or I imagine it'll be hard to find nations to fund the thing. Understandable that they plan these things decades in advance though.

Reed Spacer:

It's called humour . The fact that the wording of my post didn't make that clear to you in that respect worries me.

Speaking of Google searches...

4/10 on the humour; also wording of the "joke" implied lack of knowledge about the LHC.

So what? I'm not here to impress either of you, nor will I sleep any less soundly one way or the other.

Reed Spacer:

So what? I'm not here to impress either of you, nor will I sleep any less soundly one way or the other.

Well that's good...I'd feel a little bad if I caused you to actually lose sleep. Just felt like pointing out that the "it was a joke" defense was poor at best, not to mention the hostile tone of it just makes you look insecure. In these types of situations I find it's usually preferable just say something like "oh, my bad" to close the discussion and avoid further potential embarrassment.

dyre:

Reed Spacer:

So what? I'm not here to impress either of you, nor will I sleep any less soundly one way or the other.

Well that's good...I'd feel a little bad if I caused you to actually lose sleep. Just felt like pointing out that the "it was a joke" defense was poor at best, not to mention the hostile tone of it just makes you look insecure. In these types of situations I find it's usually preferable just say something like "oh, my bad" to close the discussion and avoid further potential embarrassment.

Why would I be embarrassed? We're both just text on a screen here - just turing tests trying to out trick the other.
...
...
...
Oh great; now I'm having an existential moment.

Thanks.

Thank a bunch.

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