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News Brief: A report from the National Academies endorses the idea of building a large-scale electron ion collider to probe the next level of subatomic mysteries. Such a collider would smash electrons into beams of protons or heavier ions — in contrast with the Large Hadron Collider, which smashes protons together. The proposed collider could address questions such as the interaction of quarks and gluons, which are bound together in protons and neutrons. Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory in Virginia each have a facility that could be upgraded to create an electron ion collider at a billion-dollar cost. Today’s report doesn’t favor one concept over the other, but acknowledges that “design challenges remain for each.”

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