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LHC costs money, is it worth it?


thewowsignal
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Within two decades the LHC consumed lots of money. Is it worth the money already spent on it? Is there a way to evaluate this gigantic project? If yes, what criteria should be applied? What is the total cost since the beginning of this project?

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That is equivalent to the unit cost of four B-2 bombers; not including operational costs.
The US SAC has a fleet of about 20.

Shouldn't Thewowsignal be bitchin' about the cost of something else ?

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4 hours ago, thewowsignal said:

Within two decades the LHC consumed lots of money. Is it worth the money already spent on it? Is there a way to evaluate this gigantic project? If yes, what criteria should be applied? What is the total cost since the beginning of this project?

How is it that you are claiming that “the LHC consumed lots of money” and you apparently don’t know how much was spent?

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2 hours ago, MigL said:

That is equivalent to the unit cost of four B-2 bombers; not including operational costs.
The US SAC has a fleet of about 20.

Shouldn't Thewowsignal be bitchin' about the cost of something else ?

Only if he's uninterested in the number of people it can eliminate. B-2 bombers: potentially unlimited civilian-kill; LHC - zero. What good is it? 

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2 hours ago, Peterkin said:

B-2 bombers: potentially unlimited civilian-kill; LHC - zero.

Oh, I don't know ...
If the LHC had created a Black Hole it could have potentially killed everyone 😄 😄.

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I hoped to have some serious discussion here about the LHC costs and if such costs make any sense. Is there any official data available about the public money spent on the project so far? I am unable to find it that easily. Any help would be appreciated.
Some articles on the Internet suggest that the LHC costs about 1 billion euros per year. Is this official data?

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3 hours ago, thewowsignal said:

Some articles on the Internet suggest that the LHC costs about 1 billion euros per year. Is this official data?

What articles? If you don’t share this information, how are we to evaluate the source?

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On 11/13/2022 at 6:54 AM, thewowsignal said:

Within two decades the LHC consumed lots of money. Is it worth the money already spent on it? Is there a way to evaluate this gigantic project? If yes, what criteria should be applied? What is the total cost since the beginning of this project?

Sounds like reasonable questions even if a regular internet search should provide an answer to how much it costs. But it is clear - even without knowing the specific numbers - that by most science lab standards it costs a LOT of money.

I'm in favour of supporting research for the sake of understanding the building blocks of matter but it isn't clear how it has practical implications and of course there are trade offs; funding isn't infinite and bigger budgets for the LHC can mean reduced budgets for other things.

Is it good value for money? I have no idea and with pure research we aren't necessary chasing specific applications, rather we aim for a better understanding of how things really work and hope for applications to emerge.  Better understanding of what goes on with fusion and of what is required for fusion energy applications? Better medical or other diagnostic imaging? "Better" thermonuclear weapons?

It would be interesting to hear what real world impacts people here think it might have.

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14 hours ago, thewowsignal said:

I hoped to have some serious discussion here about the LHC costs and if such costs make any sense.

Me too but so far you are not discussing anything, you are simply asking questions. Can you contribute anything to this discussion that you started?

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Indeed, I am asking questions. Because I do not know answers. From my little perspective, of a small EU taxpayer, whose country donates money to this project, I am a bit worried. Things are getting bigger and more powerful and there are plans to build even a bigger particle smasher? Are you people crazy? Or perhaps there is something wrong with your theories? If theoretical physics is ahead of experimentally confirmed theories, which seems to be the case, there is a question of how far you want to go down this path. So far the LHC project is not that successful, in my opinion. If it did not costed billions I would not have a problem with it. There are high expectations in regard to this monster project.
 

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As others have stated depends on what you are comparing it to and who regards it as value for money.

You can do a cost benefit analysis if you like but its difficult to determine the total eventual benefits (if any) at this stage. 

  • It provides 1000's of people with jobs
  • It enables cutting edge research that may lead to useful technological advancements
  • It may lead to advancements in medicine, energy procurement/efficiencies 
  • It provides access for budding next generation students and scientists across the globe to study the fundamental structures of matter and energy
  • It is just one of many scientific tools that are relatively inexpensive compared to many military tools (both that may be beneficial depending on the context)
  • It enables the human race to gain more in depth data of the universe around us, which in turn feeds our emotional desire to understand our place and maybe purpose.    

These are a few at the spring to mind, but then I'm biased in favour of such projects.

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5 hours ago, thewowsignal said:

the LHC project is not that successful, in my opinion. If it did not costed billions I would not have a problem with it

You’ve provided no reasons for any of the rest of us to give a damn about your personal opinion, but you are indeed welcome to it. 

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7 hours ago, thewowsignal said:

From my little perspective, of a small EU taxpayer, whose country donates money to this project, I am a bit worried

There are 23 member states. France, Germany, Italy, and the UK combine for more than half of the contributions. 

Germany contributes the most (just over 20%) so that’s a few hundred million euros. But they spend more than 30 billion on R&D (public sector funding)

https://www.research-in-germany.org/en/research-landscape/why-germany/research-funding-system.html

CERN gets a disproportionate amount of attention 

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My personal opinion is based on three decades of observations in the area of particle physics. As the scientific world approaches the end of its capabilities, more and more problems and questions arise. If there are plans to build even bigger particle smasher, is this going exponentially? Was the main purpose of the LHC to confirm predictions of the Standard Model and find the Higgs boson? I think the most fundamental laws of the Universe are very simple.

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1 hour ago, thewowsignal said:

My personal opinion is based on three decades of observations in the area of particle physics. As the scientific world approaches the end of its capabilities, more and more problems and questions arise. If there are plans to build even bigger particle smasher, is this going exponentially? Was the main purpose of the LHC to confirm predictions of the Standard Model and find the Higgs boson? I think the most fundamental laws of the Universe are very simple.

Sounds like you've already made up your mind and are just here to complain.

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4 hours ago, thewowsignal said:

As the scientific world approaches the end of its capabilities, 

This is a rigor-free assumption I think you need to support a little, or at all. It doesn't matter how little about science you know, a statement like this is basically trying to Beg the Question. What makes you think this dilemma exists?

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LHC gets tons of data about QCD background and rules out wrong hypotheses and ideas about how matter behaves. It provides an excellent school for engineers and experimental physicists. It fosters collaboration among nations.

But maybe you're right. We should throw money at other --more worthy-- causes. Here's another one that's in sorry need for more money:

image.thumb.png.19d1d7bb5b6c850e2993133ac1590365.png

 

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Bah. We just spent more than twice that on advertisements in the US midterm elections and all just so ONLY one incumbent lost their seat nationally. 

People who churn their own butter or milk their own cows think I spend too much on both products at the grocery store.

They’re welcome to hold that opinion, and it plus $2-3 will buy you a half decent cup of coffee. 

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14 hours ago, zapatos said:

Sounds like you've already made up your mind and are just here to complain.

+1

16 hours ago, thewowsignal said:

My personal opinion is based on three decades of observations in the area of particle physics. As the scientific world approaches the end of its capabilities, more and more problems and questions arise. If there are plans to build even bigger particle smasher, is this going exponentially? Was the main purpose of the LHC to confirm predictions of the Standard Model and find the Higgs boson? I think the most fundamental laws of the Universe are very simple.

I would say this qualifies as the LHC being successful, no? (my bold)

Scientific study is a journey of discovery, whether that be solutions to problems, answers to questions, or the discovery of more to ask and solve. You seem to be implying that the LHC is/was the experiment to end all experiments? This couldn't be further from the truth.  

Edited by Intoscience
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This thread is about the LHC costs of operation. The LHC project has no positive impact on my life so far. As far as

Quote

the scientific world approaches the end of its capabilities - What makes you think this dilemma exists?

The LHC is a very good example of the above. Many people clearly see, that building even bigger particle smasher should happen sooner rather than later. This will create another level of financial and technological challenges. Do you think your capabilities are as big as the Universe?

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3 hours ago, thewowsignal said:

Do you think your capabilities are as big as the Universe?

No, but our aspirations should be as big as the universe.

The LHC costs roughly $4.5 billion a year. The global GDP is $85 trillion/year. The LHC represents 0.00005% of humanities annual wealth, or 0.0003% of the EU's annual GDP. A small price to pay to push at the borders of our ignorance. 

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