Friday, February 07, 2014

CERN may sometimes build its bigger SSC

The FCC (Future Circular Collider) would beat the cancelled collider in Texas

Physics World mentions a conference in Geneva that will start next Wednesday. Some important personalities will be discussing the long-term future ambitious plans of CERN.

The LHC is the small circle at the top. Its Southern "endpoint" could touch a new ring of circumference of 80-100 kilometers. Note that the SSC in Texas that was abolished in 1993 was supposed to have circumference 87.1 km so the proposed CERN collider is exactly in the same size category.

The SSC was supposed to boast energies 2 times 20 TeV (i.e. 40 TeV center-of-mass energies). However, the predictions for the same-size CERN collider sound better, around 100 TeV. This increase is due to the improvements of the magnet technologies in the last two decades. One must say that despite the absence of any "super" in the modest name of the LHC, it is using a more efficient (not just brute force) technologies to accelerate than the SSC was planned to use; and of course, the magnets are superconducting, too. The SSC was only "more super" than the LHC when it came to the size and brute force.

John Ellis is proposing some cool things such as the simultaneous existence of a LEP-plus lepton collider and a LHC-plus hadron collider in the same tunnel. Director Heuer will be attending the conference, too.

I do think that the increase of the center-of-mass energy seems to be the most promising (yet not guaranteed to produce new discoveries) strategy in experimental physics and the so-far null results of the LHC (except for the discovered Higgs boson) runs make this opinion of mine stronger, not weaker. It seems to me that the pure lepton machines are better to investigate something "we know to be there" that we want to understand in detail. But because there's "nothing new there yet", brute force increases seem kind of necessary.

Even if a precision machine found some deviation from the Standard Model, it would be so unconvincing and it would give us so little information. The deviations in Higgs boson's couplings may be due to many vastly different reasons so even if physicists became sure that there has to be new physics, they would know nothing about its character.

It is just not clear to me whether Europe will have enough money at the decisive moments, perhaps sometime before 2030. The European Parliament has just approved the Climate Suicide of Europe by 2030. The link in the previous sentence goes to the automatic translation of an essay written by a Czech center-right EU lawmaker who voted "No", of course. The insanity of the majority of the people in the EU institutions is apparently unbounded.


  1. I will repeat myself; I doubt it will ever be built.

    The SSC was cancelled in 1993 when projected costs reached $12B (and after $2B had been spent); the actual costs would probably been higher.

    So, just using the consumer price index for the US we get a projected cost of at least $20B. However, science equipment has a higher inflation rate, about 6% in recent years. So, if the scientific price index has an inflation rate of 6% over the last 20 years the projected cost is almost $40B. I'd go with that.

    The era of big physics and big astronomy is over. Some of the giant telescopes now in the early stages of construction may be cancelled, especially if the contracts for the mirrors haven't been signed. There will be no follow on to ITER either.

    Guys like Lubos are the future of physics.

  2. What about the approach proposed by the International Coherent Amplification Network? If successful, would this make the large ring colliders obsolete?

  3. You actually mean "may some time in the future build"? Sometimes seems the wrong word.

  4. Hm has he really been abusive ...?

    In particular on Physics SE, I made the sad experience that people who can can not stomach their understanding or way of thinking being corrected, their misunderstandings pointed out, or generally being told (rightly so from a physics point of view) wrong, use to call him rude, abusive, etc ...

    I'm a bit astonished that it happend on Quora too, I just personally had only some discussions with Quora admins about tags (topics) on some of my questions that could be resolved within hours for the good. But I did not observe what happens to other people's stuff there so much and rather mind my business (assuming that moderation is some kind of ok).

    However, it might be that I am wrong about Quora and I did just not take note of the bad stuff, exclusively minding my business and close my eyes about all the insane and injust stuff that happens for SE political reasons, I would probably still be fine (and never have been banned) on Physics SE too. The worst thing that happend to my own questions and answers so far is that Dmckee once closed one of my questions which got reopend by a then much nicer instance of David Z, and Qmechanic left a comment on my last Physics SE question saying that it is a duplicate of some others first, but then he changed it to just saying they are related and I even appreciate the links he has given to me.

    I really curse my bad WLAN connection here which is still too week to allow me to watch a video :-(0). Fortunately I will be back home with my Kitty and a more reasonable internet connection next Wednesday ... ;-)

  5. This is unbelievable how dispotically moderators overrule and neglect on Physics SE community decisions, if it pleases them

  6. I find it reasonably likely that by 2030 this global warming panic business will pop. I still have faith in humanity. After all it is arranged by the same criminals who created the H1N1 scam. People won't forget it.

  7. Yes, of course, obviously there is nothing in what you say that contradicts anything that I wrote. My point was entirely that it was in the "Dark Ages" that the Christian Church represented the only rationality available and that the break down happened after the "Dark Ages" were over, with the Church submitting to pressure form below (it's own ranks, of course, but it was the lower ranks that lead the way and the higher who resisted as long as they could) and also that the leading humanists, reformers, early proponents of science, including the most famous figures, either became active, even leading supporters of the witch hunts or kept silent. In fact, among the great "humanist" figures of the age only Erasmus is known to have expressed doubts and that in an ironic and veiled way. (As for the power of the angels both Copernicus and Giordano Bruno expressed strong supporters of the idea).
    And, of course, the anti-catholic reformers (except for Zwingli) were even more ferocious persecutors and dogmatists than the Catholic Church.

    So what I deny (and this concerns not just the witch craze) is that the Medieval world was "ready" for rationality and science and it was only the Church that held this down. This is a primitive view of a very complex phenomenon. The fact that this explosion of the most extreme irrationality in Europe's history (before the 20th century) coincided with the rising challenge to and decline of the power of the Church and also with a great burst of creativity of the Renaissance and the rise of science was not an accident, even though it is obviously too complicated for those who need simple explanations that fit their own ideological preferences.

  8. I agree with you that it was not just Christianity that acted as a barrier against the start of science, enlightenment, etc.

    The Church was still the most restrictive and the only "unbeatable" power influencing the intellectual life.

  9. Maybe the Chinese could finance it. They blow tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars every year on gigantic projects that will never pay back. Of course they are squandering their workers life-savings in the process, but oh well.

  10. Guys like Lubos have always been only half of the future of physics because neither theoretical nor experimental physics can go it alone. Without the guidance of theory experimental physics would quickly degenerate into routine empirical measurements that would add nothing to our basic understanding of nature and theory without new measurements would eventually degenerate into nothing but philosophical babbling. Fortunately, even without big iron, there are a huge number of experimental studies that can guide Lubos and his colleagues for a very long time. One good example is the measurement of the detailed properties of the CMB, which has added immensely to our understanding of the universe.

    Of course I personally favor the construction of the big experiments for a whole range of reasons.

  11. Yep the Era of big physics and astronomy is obviously over in the US, the decision makers who decide about the US budget give a damn about in particular fundamental physics.

    But to me it rather looks as if the new SSC would be built in Europe and fortunately NOT in the US. So I hope things will work better this time, maybe it would be indeed a good idea trying to get newly arising countries such as China, India, and others interested in supporting the project and just forget about the US as they no longer care about taking part in the (experimental) fundamental physics game?

    In my opinion it is not too important by whom important larger physics experiments are done, but THAT they are done.

    I would look forward to a European + friends SSC very much and agree that more power is more (potential) fun than higher precision :-)


  12. Actually, if CERN is to build something like the SSC they should do it in Texas. Most of the excavation (which is really expensive) is already done. But I don't see the EU spending $40B in Texas.

    And I don't think it is important to do big iron physics. I'd rather have aircraft carriers and tank divisions to slap down the Russkies. They are coming back, you know. Pay attention to the Ukraine and the Baltic states.

  13. Probably none of which are rational, only emotional. That's OK. Lots of big things have been done for emotion.

  14. Dear Lubos, are you unwell? I've never seen such a mild response from you to so much idiocy and nastiness as Maimon's trutherism. I hope you recover soon. In the meantime I volunteer to hold him down while a Boston Marathon amputee unfastens his prosthetic leg and uses it to bludgeon Maimon until he looks like a deep-dish pizza marguerita.

  15. I've had a flu since the beginning of the week but you must have misunderstood Ron. He argued that he loves me as I am the best man in the world. I am flattered.

  16. Maybe, Bob. But many useful things have come from advances in fundamental physics.

  17. I am very suspicoud about the Russkies and think they (at least their politics) are still dangerous too ...

    But in my opinion this is not a reason for humanity to give up on trying to learn and understand how our world or nature works, dismiss all fundamental physics etc ...

    It is your legitimate right to personally dismiss fundamental physics of course (if too many people think like you, we will have the Dark Middle Ages back though), but then I slightly wonder why you are reading TRF after all ... (?)

  18. CERN developed the WWW 1989 and put into public domain in 1993. The LHC has led to great advances in data handling.
    Yes we had the moon race due the emotion and it gave us much of what we take for granted - Velcro, the first microprocessors.... My avatar wishes to note that Teflon was developed into the dangerous product it is today by it, however. So maybe we ought to have spent all that money on more aircraft carriers and tanks to use against the Russians. We didn't need space pens. We would have discovered that one can use a pencil to write in space at some time after the rubble of World War III had been cleared away.

  19. I knew that I must not be unique. Since my adoptive parents found me as in infant in an escape pod on their Kansas farm, I have felt isolated from the human species. I changed my name from Kal-El to Gordon, because at first, I thought the Scots were other aliens...:)

  20. These babes gave up all claim to credibility when, after being pardoned by Putin, they demanded that the democratically elected Russianpresident should step down and be replaced by oil and finance oligarch Mikhail Khodorovsky. They are either complete fools or are so overconfident in their Western political and financial support that they think that anyone representative of this rotten and corrupt order that is sowing mayhem and grief across the planet somehow stands for freedom.


    No self-respecting anarchist would ever shill for a neoliberal capitalist. These girls are shams, as many have suspected all along

  21. The US does not care if its igniting a civil war in Ukraine. The more damage to Russia the better.

    The EU would like regime change in Ukraine, but not civil war. But the danger of some civil war, then Russian intervention and then global conflict is quite real and by pushing for regime change the EU is as much guilty as the US is.

    The systematic anti-Russian campaign in the U.S. and elsewhere is much a payback for the lost US position in the Syria case. It is childish, but that is how the Obama administration generally behaves.

  22. Your point about the Russia-bashing-Western media really struck home with me, Lubos. A lot of the coverage has been about the threat of terrorism (leaving out the parade of scare-mongering that is done for our sporting events), the corruption and expense, the problems with torches, the protests over the homosexual issue, etc. I'm sure the Russians are no saints, but neither are our politicians.

    What gets me is the hatred the neocons and their ilk have for Russia. Bush's treatment of Russia was bad enough. I'm reminded of a comic from campaign 2008 where Hillary wants to stay in Iraq and Iran. Obama says that's crazy. Then you see Brzezinski behind him and he says "We have to attack Russia."

  23. Cynholt,

    Your last paragraph is absolutely dead on, I couldn’t agree more. In fact, as a USA citizen I can only express deep embarrassment for the pathologically narcissistic, indeed solipsistic, current administration. But, I suppose, anyone still tethered to reality in the West can say the same.

    Your mention of global conflict seems a tad overblown, I would think the likelihood there is very low. Watching the Olympics out of boredom last night I caught several closeups of Putin’s face. Say what you will, he looks like someone very much in contact with reality, and global conflict is surely not in his interest.