First of all... this is the first article in a REALLY long time on Slashdot where I've seen genuine intelligence being applied in the comments. There are absolutists, nay-sayers, pragmatists and more here and I swear, I feel like I've grown smarter from the comments which is just so rare for most articles. So... thank you everyone for contributing to my personal education, I mean this wholeheartedly.
I've seen many comments that make many good points.
We have the obvious which is "using LHC technology, scaling an accelerator to the next useful step would require a longer 'straight stretch' than we have available"
There's also "The possibility and benefits of acquiring a budget to consider another accelerator undertaking at the suggested massive scale, even if achievable wouldn't be profitable as the results we expect to gain based on current theory couldn't justify the project when the money can be better spent on studying other sciences which can be applied more easily"
There's also "We have ideas of what to look for next, but we're lacking legitimate proposals for how to make the observations." followed by "We're pretty sure we can observe these things if we slam enough energy into it."
The nice ones I see are the people who suggest thinking outside the box and using techniques like beaming lasers into plasma to produce higher voltages in smaller spaces. (did I summarize that properly)
I have seen a few small comments about better sensor technology. A few about data storage and processing constraints. I've seen of course the mandetory goofing around and as always the statements made by the ignorant providing solutions to problems they can barely spell let alone understand.
Let me ask a few small questions and hope for an answer from the people here who I believe are quite brilliant on this topic.
1) Does an accelerator have to be in one big line or is it acceptable to wrap it around a core like thread on a spool?
2) Do we actually need higher voltages to produce the reactions we're looking for or do we theorize these reactions happen at levels achieved within the limits of the LHC but we lack the knowledge or tools (maybe even theories) to observe the results?
3) While SM doesn't appear to explain everything, what is an example of what it fails to explain? (Wikipedia didn't help me here)
4) While I wish I could devote 20 years of my life to becoming knowledgeable enough to understand this topic, I am curious, beyond satisfying our curiosity, what additional benefits to we hope to achieve by detailing the standard model further? Higgs to me made sense, but I don't understand what components we feel we're missing that are scientifically profitable beyond what we already have found. It feels like finding another digit of PI. Unless we find a way to make PI a rational number, I don't see that the next 1 or 1 million digits will matter much.
5) To use the PI example again... could we ever complete the standard model? Or will it be like PI... no matter how many digits we find, there will always be more afterwards?
I thank you in advance if you do in fact take the time to answer my questions. I have 20 more, but I just grabbed the first 5 that came to me. I feel I've made it sound like I'm on the budget committee trying to pull funding, but in reality, I'd love to see the next step. If a complete and accurate standard model is even possible I would love to see it happen. I'm just curious as to whether a completed standard model is actually possible.