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A sad end for the Superconducting Super Collider


By Hamish Johnston

Physicists are usually a law-abiding bunch, so I was shocked when a group at the APS March Meeting in Dallas, Texas announced that they were going to “break in” to the old Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) site just south of town.

Well, they did manage to get in and they have posted photographs on the web to prove it. There’s something very sad about the photos of the derelict site, especially when contrasted with pictures taken 20 years ago.

Conceived in 1983, the SSC was going to be the next big particle collider with a circumference of 87 km and a maximum collision energy of 40 TeV. That’s as big as Texas compared to the 27 km and 14 TeV of the Large Hadron Collider.

But 10 years later the project was cancelled, leaving a few buildings on the surface as well as tens of kilometres of tunnels deep underground. According to the clandestine team, the tunnels are well below the water table and therefore flooded long ago.

I was tempted to write a blog about the escapade as it played out last week – particularly when the team phoned the press room for directions – but I thought I’d better not tip off the sheriff and his buddies.

When you go down the SSC to have a little fun,
have your ten dollars ready when the policeman comes

They’ll find no Higgs boson,
cause Texas has them SSC blues

They’ll find no Higgs boson,
cause Texas has them SSC blues

Hmm, that’s one for next year’s APS sing-along (to the tune of Deep Elm blues of course)!

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  1. roto

    Not so sure this is the blues. Maybe economically, but I don’t think is was worth its cost. Matter of fact, I don’t believe the LHC in Europe will find any Higgs boson because I don’t think it exists. They may find a few minor other things, but major discoveries probably not. We should look to cosmic rays and telescopic observations of black holes and magnetars for future high energy particle physics. I have a degree in physics and its been my hobby for 35 years. This is where I stand after working with nuclear fusion and other projects over the years.

    • Taylor

      Hey roto…. where did ya get that there degree in physics?

      If i am not mistaken the Higgs Boson has been confirmed to exist by the people at CERN.

      Would you like your foot with red or white wine?

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