[Reblog]: Italy Cancels €1 Billion Accelerator Project

by Edwin Cartlidge on 29 November 2012, 1:00 PM

ROME—The Italian government has scrapped plans to build a particle accelerator known as SuperB in the outskirts of Rome after a new study calculated its total cost to be about €1 billion—some €350 million more than previously estimated.

SuperB was to have been built on the campus of the University of Rome Tor Vergata to the south of the Italian capital by an international collaboration of scientists. It was to have consisted of two 1.2-kilometer-circumference rings that would have accelerated beams of electrons and positrons. Collisions between the beams would have allowed the study of extremely rare phenomena in the decay of B mesons and other exotic particles. That could help explain why the universe seems to be so dominated by matter, as opposed to antimatter.

Some physicists were skeptical that cash-strapped Italy could afford to pay for such a machine. The Italian government said that it would provide €250 million of the €650 million budget, while other countries, including France and Russia, said they might pay a share of the costs. The United States, meanwhile, agreed to donate parts from its decommissioned PEP-II/BaBar “B-factory” at the SLAC laboratory in California for use in SuperB. But it was not clear where the roughly €200 million for the first 10 years of operation would have come from…

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