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U.S. Completes Contribution to World's Most Powerful Particle Accelerator

June 30, 2008 - 2:15pm


WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. contribution to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been completed on budget and ahead of schedule, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) said today.  The LHC, located near Geneva, Switzerland at the CERN laboratory, is the largest international scientific facility ever built.  The U.S. contribution, a $531 million investment, consists of several key components of the particle accelerator and the ATLAS and CMS particle detectors.

"The success of the U.S. LHC project is based on the quality of the U.S. teams, and national and international collaboration," DOE Under Secretary for Science, Dr. Raymond L. Orbach said.  "The U.S. groups, from universities and national laboratories, worked extraordinarily well together.  We celebrate their accomplishments and, together with them, look forward to extremely exciting science coming from the LHC."

Scientists predict that the LHC's very-high-energy proton collisions will yield extraordinary discoveries about the nature of the physical universe.  The LHC is currently undergoing final assembly and first particle collisions are expected later this year.  When the LHC experiments begin scientific operations, U.S. physicists will make up the largest group of scientists from any single nation.

"We are proud to have partnered with the DOE in supporting the U.S. LHC collaborations in this historic international effort," said Joseph Dehmer, physics division director of the National Science Foundation. "We also note with pride the excellent performance of the construction project, and we look forward to the period of scientific discovery that will result."

CMS and ATLAS are two LHC experiments designed to explore the physics of the Terascale, the energy region where physicists believe they will find answers to some of the central questions at the heart of 21st-century particle physics:  Are there undiscovered principles of nature?  How can we solve the mystery of dark energy?  Are there extra dimensions of space?  What is dark matter?  How did the universe come to be?

Many universities and laboratories contributed to the decade-long project-which was completed ahead of the planned September 30, 2008 milestone-to design, fabricate, install, integrate and commission the U.S. components.  DOE's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory led the effort to supply the LHC accelerator and the CMS detectors components, while DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory and Columbia University managed the contribution to the ATLAS detector.  DOE's Argonne and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories also contributed to the project.  The U.S. LHC project efforts were overseen by DOE's Office of High Energy Physics and the NSF Elementary Particle Physics program, with significant assistance from DOE's Office of Project Assessment.

For more information on the project, visit the Large Hadron Collider website.

Media contact(s):

Jeff Sherwood (DOE), (202) 586-5806
Lisa-Joy Zgorski (NSF), (703) 292-8311