Austria pulls out of Large Hadron Collider

Particle physics means nothing to me, says Vienna

Austria has announced plans to pull out of CERN, the international science alliance which runs the world's most powerful particle-punisher - the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - and whose people invented the world wide web.

"I feel bad about every membership that we cannot keep up," said Science Minister Johannes Hahn on Friday, announcing Austrian plans for the pullout. He added that CERN membership currently absorbs 70 per cent of Austria's funding for international projects, and the withdrawal will allow various other initiatives to be funded.

Hahn also sought to characterise the Austrian move as a "pause" rather than a permanent break with CERN, and said that he hoped for "a new kind of cooperation" with the Franco-Swiss based collider organisation.

Top Austrian particle-smash boffins weren't pleased.

"This is a catastrophe," famed Vienna physicist Walter Thirring, a major cheese at CERN from 1968 to 1971, told AFP. He added that other nations might follow Austria in pulling out of the organisation, perhaps imperilling the LHC.

The Collider should have been operating by now, but following initial switch-on last year it suffered serious damage following a cooling failure. It's now expected to start seriously banging hadrons in the second half of this year.

Recent comments by the UK's new science minister and former medtech biz-cat Lord Drayson, to the effect that Blighty might need to refocus its science spending on more lucrative areas rather than LHC-style pure science, met with a robust response from CERN. Thus far there have been no other signs that the UK intends to follow Austria's example. ®

Sponsored: Detecting cyber attacks as a small to medium business

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER


Related

christina_koch

NASA's Christina Koch returns to Earth as the longest-serving woman astronaut – after spending 328 days in space

The plucky star-trekker also part of the first all-female spacewalk, too
dumbbell

World-record-breaking boffins reveal the fastest spinning thing on Earth – and it's not George Orwell in his grave

Privacy's dead but, hey, we've got nanoparticles spinning at 300 billion RPM. So that's cool
sun_surface

In case you wanna launch your boss into the Sun, good news: Earth's largest solar telescope just checked and, yeah, it's still pretty fiery

Most detailed close-ups of our star are in – and get a load of these plasma bubbles the size of Texas
Terminator head

Absolute mad lads are teaching physics to AI because how else will it learn to solve real-world problems (like humans)

Can't take over the galaxy if you don't know how it works, innit?
mars_maven

Finally, that cruel dust world Mars proves useful: Helping scientists understand Earth's radio-scrambling plasma

Red Planet's sporadic E layers shed light on our world's interference
yarrabubba_crater

Two billion years ago, snowball Earth was defrosted in huge asteroid crash – and it's been downhill ever since

Pic Space prang raised temperatures, melted glaciers, influenced climate, next thing we know: we're sharing AI-filtered selfies on Insta
TOI_700_d

Pack your bags! NASA's latest exoplanet hunter satellite finds its first Earth-sized world in a habitable zone – and it's only 100 light years away

Vid TESS also spots Tatooine-alike
Artist illustrations of the Nobel Physics Prize winners. Left to right: James Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz. Image credit: Ill. Niklas Elmedhed and Nobel Media.

A trio of boffins scoop the Nobel Prize in physics for the first exoplanet discovery and big bang model

James Peebles gets half, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz each bag a quarter

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020