China can build the largest collider on Earth, CERN president says

China’s proposed 36 billion yuan (US$5 billion) Circular Electron Positron Collider (CEPC) project, also known as the Higgs Factory, would dwarf the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) with a circumference of 100 kilometers.

The Chinese government did not give final approval for the project, which sparked widespread controversy in China between the scientific community and the general public.

The strongest opposition came from legendary physicist and Nobel Prize winner Yang Zhenning.

Yang, who renounced his US citizenship and now lives in Beijing, had previously questioned the need to build a super-fast collider. He said in 2016 It is “not suitable for China today” because the country has more pressing needs to address, such as economic development and environmental protection.

Rabinovici said he read what Yang said and the reactions of Chinese scientists at the time, but he believes Yang, like many others, “underestimated the capacity that exists here in China.”

China can build the largest collider on Earth, CERN president says


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Head of CERN, whose work focuses on theory High energy physicsDuring his visit, he said that he witnessed tremendous progress in Chinese science, as the country has strong talents.

“Over the years, many Chinese physicists have worked at CERN and gained some knowledge and experience. These people are very capable,” Rabinovici said.

For example, Wang Yifang, the mastermind behind the CEPC project, worked at CERN with Nobel laureate Samuel Zhongting after graduating from Nanjing University with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1984.

CERN is now considering expanding the LHC to a machine about 100 kilometers long, and Rabinovici has been invited by the Institute for High Energy Physics (IHEP) in Beijing to share some ideas and plans for the new project.

What he found during his trip is that Chinese scientists are putting tremendous effort into tackling some of CEPC’s toughest challenges, e.g Energy conservation.

“Their approach to challenges is not very different from that of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, so I am confident that Chinese scientists can do it,” he said.

The question of whether China should build the world’s largest collider has been debated in China for nearly a decade.

Wang, director of IHEP, first proposed the idea of ​​building CEPC in 2012 after Higgs boson – the “God particle” that gives mass to almost all other particles – was discovered in Europe using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
By accelerating electrons and their antiparticles – positrons – to extremely high energies and ramming them into each other, the infrastructure will create millions of Higgs bosons and allow scientists to make new discoveries that transcend the boundaries of the world. Standard form – The best theory to date describing the basic building blocks of the universe.
China can build the largest collider on Earth, CERN president says
Chinese scientist and Nobel laureate Yang Zhenning said the money needed to build the proposed collider would be a “bottomless pit.” Image: VCG via Getty Images

“I think there is no doubt that tens of thousands of scientists from all over the world, including the United States, Europe and China, strongly believe that this is a good project and worth doing,” Rabinovici said.

A physicist at a mainland university, who declined to reveal his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the team led by Wang consists of prominent scientists.

Over the past decade, their research had been highly regarded by international physicists, and the CEPC project they were designing was attracting significant global interest, he said.

The physicist also “strongly disagrees” with Yang’s argument that investing in such a massive project would squeeze funding for other pressing social issues and other areas of science.

He did not believe that China lacked the money for such a project. The problem was how Spend scientific money wiselyHe said he believes that the amount of money wasted on various projects may actually be large.

In response to the financial burden of the project, which Yang previously warned was a “bottomless pit,” Wang recently admitted that “36 billion yuan is not cheap.”

However, in an interview with the Global Times in March, Wang noted that if CEPC could support the work of thousands of scientists for decades to come, the average cost would not be that high.

Wang told the Global Times that this supercollider is being built in China It could start within three yearsAlthough it still needs to get government approval and funding.

Wang added that CEPC’s “technical design report” — which took more than 1,000 scientists from 24 countries over five years to compile — had passed international review and received “overwhelming feedback” from the physics community when it was released in December.

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