CERN's director general Rolf-Dieter Heuer will push for the linear collider, the next big experiment in particle physics after the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), to be built at the Geneva lab. Heuer made his call to situate the linear collider at CERN in an exclusive video interview with physicsworld.com, which is being relaunched today, Wednesday 16 September.
Heuer's vision to host the linear collider forms part of his grand plan to make CERN a much more international facility. Although the LHC is already a European project, the linear collider, which would collide electrons and anti-electrons, is likely to have to be a truly global project. However, in their bid to host the experiment CERN is likely to face strong competition from other labs, including Fermilab in the US, which has already played a role in the construction of the LHC.
Heuer said, 'I would be a bad director-general if I did not push for CERN at least bidding for the next global project. CERN is a fantastic place. [It] has proven that it can host such a project and therefore I think CERN should do it.'
CERN is already developing a blue-print for a future linear collider, known as CLIC, while a rival design known as the International Linear Collider is being drawn up by a team led by Barry Barish of the California Institute of Technology. The collider, if built, would make precision studies of the Higgs boson, the particle that the LHC hopes to discover.
In the interview Heuer has also confirmed a mid-November switch-on date for the LHC, which should see the first collisions this year after months of extensive repair works following the electrical fault that occurred just nine days after the first protons were sent round the collider in September 2008.
In a separate interview with physicsworld.com, CERN's head of communications James Gillies rejects claims that the initial switch-on was over-hyped, putting down the extensive media interests to the fear of black holes and Dan Brown's Angel and Demons. Gillies said, 'We didn't over-hype it. The hype was there and we lived with it.'
Both interviews with Heuer and Gillies, as well as vox-pop interviews with seven CERN insiders, can be viewed on physicsworld.com. Apart from a sleek new look and the use of video content, the relaunched site also hosts a webinar channel, which will contain lectures from the world's leading scientists and science writers, with the inaugural lecture from Graham Farmelo, author of an acclaimed new biography on Paul Dirac, due to be aired next month.