CERN Plans to Build Future Circular Collider for Particle Physics
CERN, the home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is considering building the Future Circular Collider (FCC), a larger and more powerful particle accelerator. The proposed accelerator aims to explore energies where evidence of dark matter and dark energy may be found.
The LHC and Its Achievements
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is an impressive scientific instrument located deep underneath Geneva. It operates by using superconducting magnets to propel protons or heavy ions at nearly the speed of light. The collisions that occur inside the LHC generate conditions that resemble those shortly after the Big Bang. One of its major achievements was the discovery of the Higgs Boson, a crucial particle in explaining mass.
However, the LHC has its limitations and cannot reach certain energies necessary for further discoveries. This led to the proposal of the Future Circular Collider (FCC), a larger and more advanced particle accelerator.
The Future Circular Collider: Design and Goals
The Future Circular Collider (FCC) would be three times longer than the LHC, spanning 90 kilometers in total. Its construction would be twice as deep as the LHC. The proposed timeline envisions construction starting in the early 2030s, with electron collisions commencing in the 2040s and proton collisions in the 2070s.
The primary objective of the FCC is to explore energies beyond the capabilities of the LHC and potentially discover direct evidence of dark matter and dark energy. Achieving this requires pushing the boundaries of detector size and capabilities. However, the estimated cost for this ambitious project is approximately $17.2 billion.
Criticism and Considerations
Despite the potential scientific breakthroughs, the FCC project has faced criticism. Some argue that it is a risky investment due to uncertainties in achieving the desired results, just as the Higgs Boson discovery was not guaranteed. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the cost, questioning whether the funds could be better allocated to environmental initiatives or other industries. However, CERN's contribution to scientific research and technological advancements, including the creation of the World Wide Web, should not be overlooked.
Ultimately, the decision on whether to proceed with the FCC lies with the countries funding CERN. A feasibility study will be completed in the coming year, and the 2026 update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics may influence the plans. If approved, the FCC could usher in a new era of particle physics by 2028.