CERN Wants New Collider, 62 Miles Long

Contraption could be 4 times size of Large Hadron Collider
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2014 9:04 AM CST
CERN Wants New Collider, 62 Miles Long
In this Aug. 7, 2010 file photo, an amateur photographer takes a picture in the assembly room of the elements of the LHC at the European Particle Physics laboratory (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

The Large Hadron Collider has only been in "full swing" for three years, notes a leading CERN physicist—but since planning for it began in 1983, it's already time to start thinking about what's next. In the case of the European particle physics organization, that means considering an even bigger collider—one housed in a tunnel 62 miles long. Four times the size of the LHC, the new collider could surround Geneva, though it might be built elsewhere, the BBC reports.

Like its predecessor, the new system could smash protons together. Researchers are looking to conduct experiments at energies eight times higher than those achieved in the LHC. Another option would be colliding electrons, whose activities are easier to read, the BBC explains. Why now? "We have very long lead times," says CERN head Rolf Heuer, noting those long-ago discussions in 1983 that led to "the first data ... taken in 2009." Indeed, a future collider might not be finished until 2040, says a British physicist, per LiveScience. (More CERN stories.)

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