September 18, 2010

CERN Announces Budget Cuts

Europe's particle research center CERN said Friday that budget cuts are forcing the center to shut down its accelerators for a year in 2012, but its flagship "Big Bang" machine will remain unaffected.

CERN said that its high-profile drive to study the origins of the cosmos would continue as planned as it announced the trimmed-down budget.

The center said that it would delay upgrades to the Large Hadron Collider's beam intensity by a year, meaning scientists will have to wait until 2016 for experiments to gather data at a faster rate.

Physicists use particle accelerators to create high-energy collisions so they can study the properties of the fundamental building-blocks of matter.

CERN operates a network of accelerators, but has the world's biggest one known as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

CERN previously said that the LHC would not run in 2012 "for purely technical reasons."  It said it would now also shut down all of its other accelerators in 2012 and focus its resources on the most crucial research.

"The whole CERN accelerator complex will now join the LHC in a year-long shutdown," the institute said in a statement. "CERN management considers this a good result for the laboratory given the current financial environment."

Last month, scientists and technical staff staged a protest outside CERN's main building on the French-Swiss border near Geneva over the possibility of budget cuts.

Scientists say that cutting research budgets will reduce innovation and job creation, giving ground to the damaged economy in the long-term.


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