We are getting closer to the Higgs boson. Matter really does matter.
In the ’80s, the United States had a project called the Superconductor Super Collider (SSC). We had designed an extremely powerful accelerator into a 52-mile-long circular tunnel 200 feet below ground, which would have been the largest accelerator ever. It would have certainly found or denied the Higgs by now.
The SSC was an ambitious project with hundreds of cryogenically cooled superconducting magnets necessary to accelerate the particles to nearly the speed of light in order to develop the energy needed for the impact, all of which would have generated several thousand jobs and given us a huge worldwide technological advantage in several disciplines.
But the project was canceled after zillions of man hours and billions of dollars in ’93 by President Bill Clinton. Another consequence was a loss to the sciences of literally thousands of students, who had renewed their interest in physics, related sciences and engineering.
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As a matter of local interest, the person responsible for getting the SSC project approved and started during the Reagan administration was Cal Poly grad Dr. Alvin Trivelpiece, the Department of Energy’s director of the Office of Energy Research.