The Planned $6 Billion Chinese ‘Super Collider’

The Hadron Collider,  currently the world's largest particle collider. 
By Vieamusante (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)
The Hadron Collider, currently the world's largest particle collider. (Image: By Vieamusante (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

China is planing to build the world’s biggest particle collider, in the hope of unveiling the universe’s mysteries.

The Chinese “super collider” was first conceptualized in 2014 by scientists at the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing. Until now this area of research has been dominated by American and European research labs.

What the super collider basically is supposed to do is smash subatomic particles moving at super-high speeds. Then it measures the energy and other fracture-particles set free by the collision. In a nutshell the bigger your collider, the higher the speed scientists can accelerate the particles to and the harder the resulting collision of the two particles will be.

Using this method scientists generally hope to see what the origin of matter is and why there seems to be more matter than anti-matter in the universe. From that it is hoped to generate millions of highly theoretical particles known as Higgs boson particles, which physicists believe are the building blocks of the universe.

Super collider and black holes

Some theories suggest that the formation of tiny “quantum” black holes may be possible from the process. The observation of such an event would be thrilling in terms of our understanding of the universe; and would be perfectly safe, according to a CERN statement.

Some think differently and are skeptical about the long-term impact that the use of particle accelerators, in general, might have.

According to the Lifeboat Foundation,  some collider “mishaps” could include a quantum vacuum collapse, mining the quantum vacuum and creating artificial mini-black holes. The Lifeboat Foundation says its goal is to prevent and protect Earth from such mishaps.

6 billion plus another billion each year

Regardless of what possible dangers a super collider might pose for Earth, there are some relevant mundane arguments that say the $6 billion planned to be spent on the construction of the Chinese super collider could be put to better use in society.

According to other experts, the operation and maintenance of the super collider might cost more than $1 billion every year.

Some scientists question whether a new collider will even allow us to learn anything new, especially with our current level of technology.

“Nobody can be sure that high energy colliders can make new discoveries,” said Cao Zexian a physicist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Apparently this is one of reason why no other country has proposed to build a new collider, Cao said.

“It is hard to say whether it is right or wrong to invest so much to build a collider. But before that, we can try to improve our computer chips and the tips of ballpoint pens,” Cao added.

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