Physicists design new particle collider

Some of the world's greatest minds have collided in Vancouver and agreed to build a new US$7.78-billion particle collider that will help answer some of the universe's deepest secrets.

The physicists had been until Thursday designing two separate particle colliders, known as linear colliders.

The colliders were expected to hurl billions of electrons at positrons, their anti-particles, along kilometre-long superconducting cavities at nearly the speed of light.

Timothy Meyer of TRIUMPH, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, said the results of those collisions would help scientists answer questions related to the Big Bang and the evolution of the universe.

But Meyer said the physicists met at TRIUMPH in Vancouver and agreed to form a team to develop a new particle accelerator.

"Everyone wants this collider to go forward, and the technology or which one is which is sort of a secondary concern," he said. "It's like everyone is going to start rowing in the same direction."

He said the meeting also marks the transition between the design and development phases of the new accelerator, which scientists hope will complement a similar accelerator already operating in Europe.

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