Number 224 (Story #1), May 1, 1995 by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein|
THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER (LHC) at CERN will pack less energy than had been proposed for the Superconducting Super Collider, but it will be the only machine in the foreseeable future capable of achieving some of the same scientific goals. Therefore American particle physicists are drawing up plans (subject to governmental support) whereby they would be involved in the construction phase of the LHC project and in subsequent experiments. At the recent American Physical Society meeting in Washington, DC, several speakers described these plans for doing research at CERN, where an American presence has been substantial for years; indeed U.S. scientists have regularly constituted the largest single national contingent at CERN. Some specific features of the American participation: for the CMS experiment, the prospective U.S. share (about 25% of the whole) stands at 38 institutions, including 300 physicists. For ATLAS, the other large detector collaboration, the comparable numbers are 230 physicists at 28 institutions. The U.S. contribution to the construction phase might consist of building the focusing magnets for the accelerator. Sid Drell of SLAC headed a subpanel of experts that advised the Department of Energy; the subpanel recommended last year that the US scientific community participate in the LHC project. They proposed yearly support levels rising from a few million dollars in the early years to tens of millions at the height of construction.