World will unite for gadget to replicate its birth, says top particle physicist

The International Linear Collider (ILC), which will aim to reproduce the conditions that led to the Big Bang, will be a global project. The ILC is the next biggest experiment in particle physics after the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research).

Unlike the LHC, which was designed by CERN, the ILC will be the outcome of a global effort of experts from 97 countries across Asia, Europe and the Americas, CERN director general Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer said on Tuesday. Each country will also be involved in funding and building the ILC.

Heuer was at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai for a meeting of the Funding Agencies for Large Colliders (FALC) of which India is a member.

"We want the ILC to be the first truly global project where each country involved will stay responsible for its contribution and at one point come to an agreement on how to share the operating costs. The nations can keep their knowledge while working on the project in their own country where they can train young scientists," said Heuer, adding that such challenging projects would attract more young minds

About 200 Indian scientists and other experts are already involved in the LHC, working either at CERN or elsewhere. Acknowledging the Indian contribution to the project, Heuer said it has been mainly towards large detectors, grid computing and data analysis.

The ILC is a next-generation particle accelerator to complement the LHC, so that together they can unravel the mysteries about the origin of the universe. Its design will be ready by 2012.

At the LHC, started after an initial hiccup in November 2009, scientists have started collecting data from initial collisions at low energy. High energy collisions will start in February.

Dismissing fears about a possible black hole with a strong gravitational force, Heuer said, "What we do at the LHC is what the universe has been doing for billions of years now. The linear collider is a precision machine that will substantiate the findings of the LHC."

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