This is a fantastic question, thanks for asking it!
In 10 years time I’m hoping to discover a new way of building particle accelerators that would make them cheaper, easier to run and better than they are now. There are a few ideas out there already, like using lasers to accelerate beams of particles… but all of the ideas have drawbacks. It would be great if the machines I’m working on designing now get built so that in 10 years time we could have a totally safe version of nuclear power!
The idea would be that you have a nuclear reactor where the core itself doesn’t have enough nuclear material to have a reaction, but you send it neutrons using a particle accelerator which sets off the reaction. If anything goes wrong you can turn off the accelerator and the whole thing shuts down, so there’s no chance of a meltdown.
I see it as a half-way point between “fission” power and “fusion” power, as fusion always seems to be 50 years away…
I also have a background in particle physics so the experiments on the Large Hadron Collider at the moment are really exciting – because it might take us less than 10 years to find all sorts of new particles and learn new things about how our Universe works. I hope that within 10 years we know what Dark Matter is… but it might take longer than that!