By Elizabeth Gibney
Japan’s government has said that it is not ready to commit to hosting the world’s next major particle accelerator — the planned International Linear Collider (ILC). The decision appears to deal another blow to a project that has been more than a decade in the making, although some physicists are hopeful that the government might finally be making progress on the proposal.
“There was disappointment,” said Geoffrey Taylor, chair of the International Committee for Future Accelerators, at a press conference at the University of Tokyo on 7 March. The press conference followed a meeting with representatives of Japan’s science and technology ministry, who delivered a statement on the government’s position.
The particle-physics community conceived the ILC more than 15 years ago, as a follow-up to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Europe’s particle-physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland. The ILC would be a straight, 20-kilometre collider that would make detailed studies of the Higgs boson, the last puzzle piece in physicists’ standard model.
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