Talk Already Underway On The Next Big Particle Collider

While the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) only recently ‘earned its keep’ with the discovery of the Higgs Boson, discussions have been underway over what the next really large particle collider will be, and where it might be built.  As Nature and The Guardian report, Europe, the United States and Japan are all discussing plans for such a next-generation device, which would not be ready for operation for several years.  Not that it was easy in the 1980s to determine how and where the LHC should be built, but in the intervening decades the requirements for technology, resources, and political will have increased significantly.

While competing national proposals were also the case back in the 1980s (at least until the United States opted not to pursue the Superconducting Supercollider), it’s possible that the only way out of this challenge is to band together for a truly international effort.  Even so, it’s hard to see this project being approved by governments in the current economic climate absent some significant explanation of anticipated benefits.  When researchers are still trying to figure out what the current state-of-the-art device can do, how can the benefits of the next generation device be even guessed at?