Many renowned Chinese and foreign physicists have joined a discussion about whether China should build a next-generation large hadron collider. Britain physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking is encouraging China to do just that.
“China has an incredible opportunity to become the world leader here — don’t waste it. A good example is to build the Great Collider that can lead high energy physics for the next fifty years,” Hawking wrote.
Well-known mathematician Shing-Tung Yau is in favor of Hawking's suggestion, and proposed that China choose a place near Shanhai Pass in Qinhuandao, Hebei province as its building site. Meanwhile, Chen Ning Yang, Nobel Laureate in Physics, openly opposed the idea in September, though Wang Yifang, director of the Institute of High-Energy Physics (IHEP) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, refuted Chen’s objections.
The discussion goes beyond China's borders. Philip Warren Anderson, an American physicist and Nobel laureate, is among the opponents of the plan, while David Jonathan Gross, an American theoretical physicist and string theorist, is a proponent.
Also important to mention is that the world’s current largest hadron collider is the LHC at CERN. It helped scientists to discover the Higgs boson, which is regarded as the last building block of the model.
Below is the original text by Hawking:
Particle physics is definitely not a dying field. It is however an entirely different enterprise than it was in 1980. Since then, the standard model looks to be essentially confirmed and this may give the impression that the field is complete. However, that is far from being true. There are phenomena that are just not included in the standard model. Some are CP violation, neutrino oscillations, dark matter. In theory, the problems are immense: how to include gravity, the recently discovered dualities of quantum field theories, quark confinement, dark energy, black holes, early-universe cosmology. It is a different world but one that offers huge challenges to ambitious young people interested in how our Universe works. China has an incredible opportunity to become the world leader here — don’t waste it. A good example is to build the Great Collider that can lead high energy physics for the next fifty years.