by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Oct 27, 2010
A U.S. federal advisory panel is recommending the last U.S. atom smasher be kept in operation -- but only if the funding can be found, it says.
If the money is not forthcoming, it will almost certainly mean the Tevatron collider at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will have to close next fall as originally planned, AAAS Sciencemag.org reported Tuesday.
The Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel urged the Department of Energy to keep running the collider through 2014 instead of ending its operation in September 2011.
Three extra years could give Fermilab physicists a chance to detect the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle, before Europe's more-powerful Large Hadron Collider, which will shut down in 2012 for 15 months of repairs.
The search for the Higgs "is the most exciting issue in all of physics," Charles Baltay, a physicist at Yale University and chair of the advisory panel, said. "We should seize the opportunity."
Those three extra years would add $35 million to the Energy Department's $810 million high-energy physics research budget.
"I think we're going to have to try" to find the money, said William Brinkman, director of Energy Department's Office of Science in Washington. But, he added, "Congress is in a conservative mode when it comes to funding, so it's not going to be easy."
Understanding Time and Space
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