How much money would you be willing to spend to find out if supersymmetry - SUSY - is real or not?
It was always known that discoveries made by the Large Hadron Collider would require the International Linear Collider to interpret whatever the LHC finds. With the Higgs boson discovered, physicists want to look ahead to the development of the ILC, an electron-positron collider designed to measure in detail all the properties of the newly discovered Higgs particle.
But it's not just about the Higgs, argue others. Howard Baer, professor in the University of Oklahoma Department of Physics and Astronomy, was one of the lead authors of the five-volumeILC Technical Design Report published June 12th. The report presents the latest and most technologically advanced blueprint for construction of the ILC.
His interest is keen because he has spent much of his career working on supersymmetry - or SUSY - which, Dr. Ethan Siegel at Scienceblogs.com notes, "makes the very bold prediction that every one of the Standard Model particles has a partner particle — a superpartner — that has nearly identical properties, except has a spin that’s different by a value of ±½ from its Standard Model counterpart." Dr. Tommaso Dorigo wrote LHC Excludes SUSY Theories, Theorists Clinch Hands here and lots of other pieces on supersymmetry as well. It may be a dead idea.
The ILC will allow particle physicists to study the Higgs particle with much higher precision than is possible at the LHC but Baer also has an idea about "radiatively-driven natural supersymmetry," which predicts that new partner particles of the Higgs known as higgsinos should be produced at the ILC. The properties of higgsinos are such that they may effectively be invisible to searches at LHC.
Baer has developed computer code over a 25-year period to model super particle masses and production rates for the LHC in CERN and believes the ILC would be a precision microscope for studying subatomic matter at a deeper level than is possible at LHC.
A location has not even been determined for the ILC, but the Japanese government has expressed enthusiasm to act as host country and pay the bulk of the cost provided that additional support can be received from the international community, according to Barry Barish, director of the ILC's Global Design Effort.
Moving the project forward will require the support of Asia, Europe and the United States. The total cost for the ILC is estimated at around $10 billion and will take approximately 10 years to build - so double that if every other big science project of the last 30 years is any indication.