The scientists at the biggest particle collider in the world, located in Geneva, stated their belief on Monday in proceeding with a multi-billion euro venture to construct a larger and more advanced collider that could potentially reveal new secrets of the universe.
Officials from CERN, the European research organization for nuclear physics, have announced that the development of their proposed Future Circular Collider is proceeding as planned. This project is expected to require a budget of 15 billion Swiss francs (equivalent to 16 billion euros or $17.2 billion) and is projected to become operational by 2040, with an initial phase beginning at that time.
However, there is currently no certainty about anything, except for the support from mainly European and Western nations that fund CERN, where the Large Hadron Collider is located. This project gained recognition for its role in verifying the existence of the subatomic Higgs boson in 2012, following a lengthy search for what was referred to as “the crucial piece of the puzzle in physics.”
The potential for a facility known as the Future Circular Collider was discussed by CERN director-general, Fabiola Gianotti. However, she clarified that it is currently only at the stage of a feasibility study and has not yet been approved as an official project. According to Gianotti, review committees have not found any major technical obstacles for the project thus far.
She praised the suggested collider as a valuable tool for enhancing our knowledge of fundamental physics and a catalyst for advancements in fields such as cryogenics, superconducting magnets, vacuum technologies, and detector-instrumentation technologies, which could have positive impacts on society.
Unfortunately, the potential discoveries that could arise from the upcoming collider are not well understood. According to Gianotti, there is currently no strong theoretical framework to guide our search for these discoveries.
The CERN laboratory, which is home to the largest machine in the world, utilizes a system of magnets to propel particles through a 27-kilometer (17-mile) underground track located on the border of France and Switzerland. These particles are then collided and the data from the collisions is analyzed to gain a better understanding of fundamental physics.
During the briefing on Monday, modifications to the initial plan for the new collider were presented. These changes include reducing the length of the loop from 100 kilometers to 91 kilometers.
However, their goal is to increase the energy of particle collisions to 100 TeV, which is equivalent to 100 trillion electron volts. This is about eight times stronger than the Large Hadron Collider’s capability of 13 TeV.