US particle physicists want to build a muon collider — Europe should pitch in

A feasibility study for a muon smasher in the United States could be an affordable way to maintain particle physics unity. Facebook Email The Muon g – 2 experiment at Fermilab, near Batavia, Illinois, is designed to study the properties of muons. Researchers now want to smash muons at high energies to produce other particles.Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory/SPL Last month, a group of researchers in the United States presented a rousing vision for the future of high-energy particle physics . The recommendations from the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) came in response to a request from funding agencies to set out priorities for building new facilities. One stood out: to push for the development of an entirely different type of particle collider, called a muon collider. It’s a bold suggestion that could shape the face of high-energy physics for decades to come . It is also a rare opportunity to continue the global unity that characterizes much of the particle-physics community. Laboratories across the rest of the world, but in particular at CERN, Europe’s particle-physics laboratory outside Geneva, Switzerland, should contribute to it. Since the discovery of the atomic nucleus in 1911, studying the collisions of atoms or particles has been the chief method for understanding the detailed nature of subatomic matter and the forces that govern its behaviour. In modern experiments, collisions typically happen between highly focused, accelerated beams of electrons or protons travelling in opposite directions. Researchers at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s highest-energy accelerator, discovered the Higgs boson particle in 2012 by smashing protons together and seeing what massive particles these highly energetic collisions produced. A muon collider would use beams of muons, particles similar to electrons but around 200 times heavier. It would enable tests similar to those run in proton-beam experiments, […]

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By Donato