The Large Hadron Collider or LHC is currently the world's biggest scientific machine but it will one day be dethroned by its successor, the Future Circular Collider or FCC.

Scientists at CERN based in Switzerland proposed a new accelerator that will smash particles inside a 100-kilometer tunnel. If approved, the new collider will go online after the LHC is retired by 2040.

A conceptual design report was issued on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

The Future Circular Collider

The LHC is the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world. It first went online on Sept. 10, 2008, and its biggest achievement yet is the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012.

Under the plan, the FCC will be four times bigger than the LHC, which has a ring that measures 27-kilometers in diameter, and it will be able to slam protons with an energy of 100 teraelectronvolts — a significant upgrade from its predecessor. Gian Francesco Giudice of CERN's theory department commented that the machine will be a huge leap "like planning a trip not to Mars but to Uranus."

However, the machine will also come with a hefty price tag. Currently, the proposal states that the FCC will need around €9 billion or about $10.2 billion to €21 billion or about $23.9 billion.

Will The FCC Be Made?

Plans for the FCC will be submitted next to an international panel of scientists that will discuss and decide whether it will be included in the new European strategy for particles physics, which is due to be published in 2020. Right now, there is no guarantee that the machine will be built; several other proposals for a new particle accelerator have been drawn only to later be rejected.

In December, the plan to construct the International Linear Collider, which costs $7 billion, in Japan was halted when a science committee deemed the project too costly. Already, some are questioning whether the FCC will be a good investment.

"There is no reason to think that there should be new physics in the energy regime that such a collider would reach," explained theoretical physicist Savine Hossenfelder of Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany. "That's the nightmare that everyone has on their mind but doesn't want to speak about."

Hossenfelder added that the fund would be better spent on other projects like placing a radio telescope in the far side of the moon.


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