Japan contributes to CERN's Large Hadron Collider

Japan's Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (Monbusho), announced on May 10 that it would help to finance the construction of CERN1's next particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This announcement follows the visit of a CERN delegation, led by Director-General Prof. Christopher Llewellyn Smith to Japan in March 1995. The Japanese Minister of Monbusho, Mr. Kaoru Yosano, stated that a contribution of 5 billion Yen (approximately 65 million Swiss francs) for the construction of the LHC is included in the 1995 supplementary budget, saying: "We decided to make a contribution to LHC in advance of other non-member countries. I hope this decision will accelerate international cooperation in the (LHC) project."

Prof. Llewellyn Smith said:"CERN is delighted by Japan's decision, which will allow their scientists to bring their expertise into the design and exploitation phases of the LHC. We look forward to working in partnership with our Japanese colleagues with whom we have collaborated so successfully and enjoyably in the past. The scale of Japan's contribution to the LHC sets a new precedent in inter-regional scientific collaboration."

There are currently 70 Japanese scientists participating in research at CERN and this number is expected to increase with Japan's interest in the LHC. CERN is discussing collaboration on advanced components of the accelerator with physicists from the KEK High Energy Physics Laboratory near Tokyo.

The LHC, a particle accelerator built from high powered superconducting magnets each 14 metres long, will be installed in CERN's existing 27-kilometre circular tunnel constructed for the LEP electron-positron collider. These powerful magnets will hold counter-rotating beams of protons on a steady course around the ring as superconducting accelerating cavities 'kick' them almost to the speed of light at energies higher than have ever been reached in accelerators. When these proton beams collide, at fixed crossing points, their combined energy of motion will create hundreds of new particles. Study of these collisions will probe the interactions between the tiny quark constituents hidden deep inside the colliding protons and reveal how Nature works at the most fundamental levels.

To build instruments capable of creating such extreme conditions and then analysing the results with extraordinary precision is a daunting challenge which demands advances in many highly complex technologies. The success of the LHC is directly linked to the ability of scientists, in close collaboration with industry, to push the limits of technology beyond today's frontiers. The construction of LHC will break new ground in superconductivity, high-speed electronics, cryogenics, super-computing, vacuum technology, material science and many other disciplines. These new technologies, developed for LHC, will become fertile ground in which seeds for new hi-tech industries can flourish. Japan's involvement in this technological challenge will certainly be beneficial to CERN and Japanese science and industry.

Footnote(s)

1. CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Israel, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Yugoslavia (status suspended after UN embargo, June 1992), the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.

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