Son Of The Super Collider Heads To Europe

Now that the Superconducting Super Collider is history, the physics community is anticipating the go-ahead for a junior version of the SSC at CERN, the big European physics lab that straddles the Franco-Swiss border. The $1.8 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which will take eight years to build, would be the world's most powerful atom smasher--and make CERN a magnet for physicists from around the world.

The 19 countries that fund CERN were expected to approve the LHC on June 24, but there was a last-minute hitch. Germany and Britain are pushing Switzerland and France to pick up a bigger share of the costs to reflect the benefits that will flow to their local economies. Still, there's little doubt that the project will move ahead soon. Germany and Britain back the LHC in principle. And Washington seems ready to fork over a few hundred million dollars to guarantee access by U.S. physicists--and avert a brain drain. Late July now seems the likely time for uncorking the champagne.

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