The United Kingdom has agreed to help build the next great particle physics experiment in the United States.
In a signing ceremony today at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., U.K. officials pledged to spend ₤65 million-roughly $88 million-on key components for the proposed Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, a particle detector located in a defunct gold mine in Lead, South Dakota.
Although the U.K. contribution represents a small fraction of the total cost of the experiment, its timing will have an outsized impact on the effort, which the United States is striving to internationalize, says Edward Blucher, a physicist at the University of Chicago in Illinois and co-spokesperson for the 1020-member DUNE collaboration.
Since 1999, physicists in Japan, Europe, and the United States have studied such morphing by shooting neutrinos from particle accelerator labs to distant detectors. DUNE aims to be the definitive accelerator-based neutrino experiment. DUNE itself will cost roughly $480 million, he says-nailing down the amount is difficult because the United States and other countries do their accounting differently.
The United Kingdom is the second largest contributor to the European particle physics laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland, with an annual contribution of $175 million.