Issued 12/8/97

Contact: Kara Villamil, or Mona S. Row

NOTE TO EDITORS: Dr. Gordon will be available for interviews
at BNL on Dec. 9.



BNL is a leader of American participation in European LHC


UPTON, NY - Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory today welcomed the signing of a U.S.-European agreement that officially paves the way for American participation in the building of the world's biggest particle accelerator.

The U.S., through DOE and the National Science Foundation, will contribute $531 million in components and materials over the next eight years to the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, project. That will fund one-sixth of the LHC's two large detectors, and one-twentieth of the design and construction of the accelerator itself. The LHC is scheduled to open in 2005 in Europe.

As a lead institution for the entire American participation in the project, BNL will receive about $76 million of that amount. The money will be used for the construction of detectors in a massive experiment called ATLAS, as well as for pieces of the accelerator. The money will also help BNL coordinate the efforts of the 230 scientists from 28 American universities and three national laboratories who are participating in ATLAS.

"We've waited for this moment for nearly four years," said Howard Gordon, Head of the U.S. ATLAS Project Office. "Now, we must begin in earnest the work of building ATLAS, which should give us understanding of the origin of mass."

The LHC will be a 16-mile underground ring that will straddle the borders of Switzerland and France at the European-consortium CERN lab near Geneva.

Seven times more energetic than the current record-holder accelerator, the Tevatron at DOE's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, the LHC will collide speeding protons or heavy atomic nuclei head-on, in an effort to produce new subatomic particles.

Research at LHC will complement that at the $500 million Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider now being built at BNL. RHIC will be on-line in 1999, six years before LHC.

"While RHIC is searching for the quark-gluon plasma that is thought to have existed shortly after the creation of the universe," said Gordon, "the LHC will address the most fundamental unanswered problem of elementary particle physics: the mechanism that generates the masses of everything from the tiniest subatomic particles to entire planets."

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