With the Large Hadron Collider at CERN finally working, the particle-physics community can now afford to divide its attention between achieving LHC results and preparing for the next machine on its wish list, an electron–positron linear collider. The preparations involve developing and deciding on the technology for such a machine, the mode of its governance, and how to balance regional and global particle- and accelerator-physics programs.

The consensus among particle physicists is that a lepton machine will be needed to make the most of the LHC results. Because protons have components, smashing them together yields a complicated web of particle interactions. From those interactions, scientists will determine only general characteristics of the most interesting physics, and they’ll want to get at the details from the cleaner collisions between more-elementary leptons. The University of Tokyo’s Sachio Komamiya, a member of the International Linear Collider (ILC) steering committee and of the International...

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