Friday, August 08, 2014

Next Super Collider in China?

If you're in particle physics you may have heard rumors that the Chinese government is considering getting into the collider business. Since no one knows what will happen in our field post-LHC, this is a very interesting development. A loose international collaboration has been pushing a new linear collider for some time, perhaps to be built in Japan. But since (1) the results from LHC are thus far not as exciting as some had anticipated, and (2) colliders are very very expensive, the future is unclear.

While in China and Taiwan I was told that it was very likely that a next generation collider project would make it into the coming 5 year science plan. It was even said that the location for the new machine (combining both linear and hadronic components) would be in my maternal ancestral homeland of Shandong province. (Korean physicists will be happy about the proximity of the site :-)

Obviously for the Chinese government the symbolic value of taking the lead in high energy physics is very high -- perhaps on par with putting a man on the moon. In the case of a collider, we're talking about 20 year timescales, so this is a long term project. Stay tuned!

On the importance of experiments, from Voting and Weighing:
There is an old saying in finance: in the short run, the market is a voting machine, but in the long run it's a weighing machine. ...

You might think science is a weighing machine, with experiments determining which theories survive and which ones perish. Healthy sciences certainly are weighing machines, and the imminence of weighing forces honesty in the voting. However, in particle physics the timescale over which voting is superseded by weighing has become decades -- the length of a person's entire scientific career. We will very likely (barring something amazing at the LHC, like the discovery of mini-black holes) have the first generation of string theorists retiring soon with absolutely no experimental tests of their *lifetime* of work. Nevertheless, some have been lavishly rewarded by the academic market for their contributions.


Al_Li said...

Name one Korean particle physicist besides Ben Lee.

BobSykes said...

The age of big physics is just about over. There will be no follow on to LHC because (1) a new machine powerful enough to find new physics would cost at minimum $100B and possibly more than $500B and (2) the LHC merely confirmed the Standard Model, no new physics, no motivation.

The massive failure/fraud that is ITER also will not have a follow on, especially if the senior scientists go to prison as they should.

Also, we are nearing the end of super large telescope construction, and some of those designed and planned will not be built.

Finally, the end of manned space flight might be upon us. The US has no heavy lift capability (it pretends to be designing one) and cannot put a man in low earth orbit. The US will not return to the Moon or go to Mars and may never again have manned space flight capability. The only possibility is a military operation for military purposes.

The only countries that do have manned space flight capabilities are Russia and China. Further human space exploration will depend on what they decide to do.

kurt9 said...

LHC was built to accomplish two things. The first was to find the Higgs, which it did. The other, more ambitious purpose, is to find and identify all of the hypothesized super symmetry particles predicted by Supersymmetry theory. So far, none of these particles have been found, suggesting that Supersymmetry theory (and the associated String or M-brane theory) is wrong.

5371 said...

Introduction of the most powerful supercomputers seems to be slowing to a trickle as well.

Al_Li said...

It's cheaper than Whatsapp.

Bobdisqus said...

Steve is a sneaky devil cheering them on to GDP preeminence and at the same time planting these ideas to tangle their feet. His own subtler SDI to bleed them.

Bobdisqus said...

Don't forget Elon he is well on his way.

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