Most scientific conferences balance serious physics discussions with at least some amount of leisure time. Not the international 2010 High-Energy LHC Workshop.

The workshop was held in Malta, a Mediterranean island country and tourist destination south of Italy. But “we were picked up by a bus early in the morning, and then dropped back at the hotel late at night,” says Frank Zimmermann, an accelerator physicist at CERN. “The Russians were swimming in the ocean after midnight. There was no time to relax.”

The question that so dominated the workshop participants’ time: What next-generation accelerator should they build in CERN’s 17-mile subterranean tunnel once the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider were complete? The answer was not obvious.

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