Update: I got a confirmation that at the latest INFN board of directors meeting the news was given that the Super-B factory to be built outside Rome is no more. Super-B joins other remarkable projects in high-energy physics -notably the SSC, the American 40-TeV super-collider to be built in Texas, and killed by Congress in 1993- in the dust bin.

With this move the Italian government shows again how little they care for basic research in Italy, and provides further fuel to the escape of bright researchers to other countries.

Now the funny thing (yes, as if there was anything to laugh about) is that in principle INFN could still hope to propose within a few months a different project of a similar price tag -some say a tau-charm factory- to replace the dead Super-B, and still get it funded. I hope this does not happen: it would be a very bad idea for INFN to cook up in a short time scale a new project just to try and get their hands on some alternative funding. What we need is a strong physics case before we decide what course to take. And a strong physics case is not made to order because there is a train to catch!


Unconfirmed voices say that the Super-B factory, a new ambitious project to construct a very high-intensity electron-positron collider aimed at producing large numbers of B hadrons, has been blocked by the Italian government.

Super-B is designed to be constructed in the Rome suburbs, in the new "CabibboLab" in the campus of the Tor Vergata University, not far from the Frascati laboratories of INFN. The project is a direct competitor to SuperBelle, a parallel effort of similar design in construction at KEK in Japan. The study of rare processes with b-quarks is believed to shed new light in some of the mysteries of fundamental physics, in a way orthogonal to searches for new physics at the highest-energy frontier which are ongoing at the Large Hadron Collider.

The investment in Super-B is a large fraction of the budget of research in High-Energy Physics in Italy, and the project is fighting a delay of a few years with respect to the Japanese endeavour. If funds are blocked, it may mean the end of the project. I will update this post when I get to know more of the situation.