Physicists from several Western states have suggested building a multimillion-dollar regional research center at the University of Colorado to stage experiments for the federal superconducting supercollider.

The idea for the center surfaced Friday at a colloquium on support roles universities will play in the $5 billion project.Representatives from the universities of Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Utah, and also from the Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico said they planned to begin refining the scheme this weekend.

U.S. Department of Energy officials at the colloquium said they liked the idea for the center, a primary objective of which would be to develop detectors needed to observe collisions between protons inside the supercollider.

Texas recently was selected as the site for the project. If Congress agrees to fund it, $100 million would go for support research by universities.

Building a regional research center at CU "is a good idea," said Wilmot Hess, director of the DOE's High Energy and Nuclear Physics Project. "We haven't yet seen anything on paper. But we like the idea."