(AFP) – Oct 8, 2008
TOKYO (AFP) — Boosted by its win of the 2008 Nobel Physics Prize, Japan said Wednesday it hoped to play host to a major international scientific organisation's new machine exposing the secrets of the cosmos.
The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) last month launched a multi-billion-dollar machine on the French-Swiss border aimed at shedding light on the "Big Bang" that scientists say created the universe.
The United States and European Union have both shown interest in hosting a follow-up, the 40-kilometre (25-mile) atom-smashing International Linear Collider.
"We want to make arrangements so that Japan can take on leadership," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura, the government's spokesman.
Japan was overjoyed at the news that a duo of Japanese researchers and a Japanese-born US researcher shared the 2008 Nobel Prize for physics.
Kawamura said that the government would use the prize "as a tailwind" to advance its involvement in physics research.
Last month's experiment involved the so-called Large Hadron Collider, a 27-kilometre circular tunnel in which protons are accelerated to nearly the speed of light.
But the collider will be out of action until the second quarter of 2009 due to a large helium leak.
Japan in December will also open its biggest hub of atomic research in Tokai, northeast of Tokyo.
The project will aim to help explain the infinite nature of the universe by sending trillions of neutrinos -- miniscule elementary particles discharged in nuclear reactions -- through the Earth's crust.
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