15 Juin 2013
June 13, 2013
An international physicist group plans to build an $8.75 billion (830 billion yen) particle accelerator with Japan as a leading candidate to be home to the 31-kilometer, next-generation super-collider.
The Linear Collider Collaboration project team released a technical design report on June 12 for the International Linear Collider project in the hope of unraveling more mysteries of the universe using a huge particle accelerator.
According to its report, the length of the planned collider is 31 kilometers, which would make it the longest in the world.
Japan and the United States, along with nations in Europe and elsewhere, will discuss the feasibility of the collider construction based on the report.
At issue is where to construct the collider and what proportion of construction costs each nation will have to bear.
The project would allow researchers to accelerate electrons and positrons to more than 99 percent the speed of light, and turn them each into a beam.
After causing a head-on collision of the two beams, they will be able to catch Higgs bosons and other particles generated by the collision to see their characteristics. The Higgs boson, often referred to as the "God particle," is an elementary particle that scientists believe allows all substances to acquire mass.
The construction costs are current estimates. The United States and European nations have shown less appetite for building the collider within their borders, citing severe fiscal constraints.
The LCC has high expectations for Japanese assistance.
Candidate sites for the particle accelerator in Japan include the Kitakami Mountains straddling Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, and the Sefuri Mountains straddling Saga and Fukuoka prefectures.
Japanese researchers plan to choose a final candidate by the end of July for submission to the government for approval.
Particle collider project possible for Japan
The head of an international group promoting the building of an advanced particle collider says he hopes Japan will bid to host the huge experimental facility.
A plan is underway to complete the International Linear Collider, or ILC, in the mid-2020s. It would allow physicists to smash electrons and positrons in a 30-kilometer straight tunnel, at close to the speed of light.
The goal is to create an environment similar to that just after the birth of the universe, and shed more light on its origin.
Lyn Evans is director of the international science organization, Linear Collider Collaboration. He held an exclusive interview with NHK on Thursday.
Evans stressed his group is working on the premise that Japan will host the collider, and take the lead in building an international research facility like the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva. Scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, are presently using the Geneva facility for particle physics research.
Evans noted that it is difficult to construct the ILC in Europe as the region already has the Geneva experimental facility. He added that the United States will join the project but will not be able to play a leadership role.
Constructing the ILC is estimated to cost about 830 billion yen, or nearly 9 billion dollars. The host country will have to bear half the cost of the facility.
The Japanese government will decide whether to bid for the particle collider based on a report from the Science Council of Japan.
Japan currently has 2 candidate sites. One is the Kitakami mountain region in Iwate Prefecture in the northeast. The other is the Sefuri mountain area straddling Fukuoka and Saga prefectures in the southwest.
Local governments, businesses and academia are pushing to host the ILC. The project is expected to bring thousands of researchers from around the world together, creating major economic benefits.
Japan plans to decide on one candidate site in July. The final location will be selected after talks among participating nations.