There were celebrations on Tuesday at CERN, the European physics research centre in Geneva, as it inaugurated its new particle accelerator which will continue the work examining the universe and it’s hoped could help cancer research.
The latest upgrade, the Linac 4 machine, replaces an injector that’s nearly 40 years old. Its job is to produce the flow of particles for the Large Hadron Collider or LHC, the 27-kilometre accelerator that smashes protons together for science.
“(The) challenge now for us is to imagine what the future will be, because it takes so much time to conceive and to build this kind of machines, that you really have to, must be absolutely sure that they will be useful when they will be built. And this is the case now for Linac 4,” said project leader Maurizio Vretenar.
“You know in physics, we need a lot of statistics, you need a lot of events to find new physics, then definitely, with more intensity, more, numerous protons, with better quality, it will be a source of discoveries for the future,” said CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, Frederick Bordry.
The new machine took 10 years to build and cost 85 million euros.
CERN believes there’s scope for miniaturised versions with many potential uses, including helping to diagnose cancer through scanning, and analyse artwork for museums.
The Louvre in Paris is the only museum in the world that already has an accelerator, which examines artefacts on days when the place is closed.
Scientists at CERN are working on a prototype meant to be used by museums, able to analyse and verify the authenticity, age and composition of paintings.