News FocusParticle Physics

Seeking a Shortcut to the High-Energy Frontier

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Science  04 Dec 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5958, pp. 1342-1343
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5958.1342

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With their Tevatron being eclipsed by Europe's Large Hadron Collider, Fermilab physicists hope to build a beast called a muon collider. The new machine, the topic of a workshop held last month, would smash muons, which are heavier cousins of electrons, into antimuons. In principle, it could reach energies as high as rivals already in the planning stages: the 30-kilometer-long straight-shot International Linear Collider that would fire electrons into positrons and a higher-energy electron-positron collider called the Compact Linear Collider being developed at CERN. But a muon collider would be much smaller. As cost scales with size, it could also be cheaper than the other machines. That's if a muon collider can be built.