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Muon Collider Studies

The article "Physicists dream of a muon shot" by Alexander Hellemans (News, 9 Jan., p. 169) gives a useful account of the 4th International Conference on Muon Colliders (San Francisco, December 1997), which I, with the assistance of others on the program committee, organized.

The concept of a Higgs factory muon collider (1) arose (and the name was coined, as I recall) at our first conference in 1992 in Napa, California, but it had little scientific support at that time.

At the 1997 conference, however, there were reports about four independent studies of the parameters of the electroweak theory that suggest the existence of a low-mass Higgs scalar particle (below 200 gigavolts). This is precisely the mass range in which a Higgs factory is designed to operate and that is expected by supersymmetry.

A similar situation happened with the Z particle. Before the Z particle was discovered in 1983 at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the mass was known well enough to start the design of the Large Electron-Positron Accelerator (LEP, a Z factory) machine at CERN and the Stanford Linear Collider (SLC). History may be repeating itself--as unlikely as that may seem--because, with the expected increased precision measurements to come from the SLC, LEP, and the Tevatron proton-antiproton collider in the next few years, there could be compelling evidence for the low-mass Higgs boson (at least one) even before the Large Hadron Collider begins operation.

Although the comment attributed to Alvaro de Rújula at CERN about possible technical problems with muon collider machines may be true, the Higgs boson is the "crown jewel" in the electroweak theory, and a strong effort to study this particle in detail on a collider seems justified. This aspect of the muon collider is not in competition with the next linear collider (NLC) electron-positron studies around the world.

David B. Cline
Department of Physics and Astronomy,
University of California,
Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA


  1. See collection of papers in Nucl. Instrum. Methods A350 (1994), pp. 24-56; D. B. Cline, Ed., Am. Inst. Phys. Conf. Proc. 352 (1996); Nucl. Phys. B (PS) 51A (1996).

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Volume 279, Number 5355 Issue of 27 February 1998, p 1283
©1998 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related Item

Physicists Dream of a Muon Shot

Science 9 January 1998; 279 (5348):169 (in News)
A. Hellemans

Copyright © 1998 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.