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CERN plan a particle collider with a circumference of 100 km

CERN's Future Circular Collider. Credits : CERN.

CERN have just submitted their preliminary report for their Future Circular Collider (FCC) which will have a circumference of 100 km.  If this immense project goes ahead then many of the universe’s greatest mysteries could one day be solved. 

Now almost ten years old, the LHC, also known as the Large Hadron Collider covers a circumference of 27 km and situated near Geneva in Switzerland. The collider is equipped with thousands of superconducting magnets which keep the accelerated particles inside the loop. The aim is to make these particles collide at a speed that closely resembles the speed of light. By creating these “mini Big-Bangs” physicists are trying to understand more about the fundamental nature of matter.

Now proposing a 100 km circumference

The LHC has already provided us with great advances. For example in 2012 it experimentally  confirmed the existence of Higgs boson, a particle that was first predicted in 1960. However some think that in the future we will need technology that is even more powerful to try and unveil the Universe’s hidden secrets. This is why the heads of the European organisation for nuclear research (CERN) have recently presented results of a study that aims to create a particle collider with a circumference of 100 km.  This means it would be almost 4 times the size of the Large Hadron Collider.  It is expected the cost of it’s construction would be about 9 billion euros.

CERN
Credits : CERN.

Will help to answer fundamental questions

CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, Frédérick Bordry stated that, “The FCC’s ultimate goal is to provide a 100-kilometre superconducting proton accelerator ring, with an energy of up to 100 TeV, meaning an order of magnitude more powerful than the LHC,”  The Director continued by saying that such an energy force would make precise studies possible such as how a Higgs particles can integrate with another Higgs particle. He suggested that “this physics programme could begin by 2040, at the end of LHC operations.”

Learning opportunities with such a piece of technology are enormous and some fundamental questions about our universe might be answered.  This could include why is gravity so weak compared to the other three forces?  Why are Higgs particles so incredibly light? What has happened with the Universe’s anitmatter? Or even what is the nature of black matter?

However China are currently constructing their own particle collider which is almost four times bigger than CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.  This particle collider could be functional by 2030 about 300 km east of Peking. Chinese researchers hope to generate millions of Higgs bosons with the aim of recreating primitive conditions that would have been felt after the Big Bang.

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