The world’s largest particle accelerator is being planned at CERN

The answers to these questions would bring us closer to such a question theory of everythingthat is, a single theoretical framework that allows us to explain all known physical phenomena and unify them mechanics Quantum And relativity generally. However, achieving this requires collisions at ever higher energy levels, allowing us to study matter at a finer scale and create particles of ever greater mass.

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The LHC has currently achieved record performance of 13.6 teraelectron voltsand in the future it is earmarked for new upgrades that will further increase its power and brightness and increase the collision rate and therefore the likelihood of identifying something interesting in future experiments planned 2040. However, there is a limit to the energy of the collisions that can be generated in their entirety, because in a cyclotron The energy to which particles can be accelerated also depends on their size. For this reason, the only option is to build one even stronger accelerator is to increase the length of the tunnels in which the particles are accelerated. Those of Lhc are long 27 kilometers. Instead this Future circular collider it should reach the length 91 kilometerswith which record collisions would theoretically be possible 100 teraelectron volts.

The projectTo be honest, it’s been finished for a while now. It predicts a huge one underground ring which would surround the entire city Genevabelow the namesake lake. There would be four areas where experiments could be installed and eight surface scientific facilities: seven on French territory and one in Switzerland. And it could see the light early on 2045devoted himself to experiments for several decades Electrons and positronsbefore it can enter the “hot” operating phase with the start Proton collisions around the seventies of this century.

Fcc will not only be a wonderful tool to improve our understanding of the fundamental laws of physics and nature“, explained the Director General of Cern, Fabiola Gianotti, while presenting the results of a feasibility study of the new accelerator last week. And he added: “There will also be a Innovation enginebecause we will need new cutting-edge technologies, from Cryogenics, superconducting magnets, vacuum technologies, detectors and technologies with enormous potential to impact our societies and enormous socio-economic benefits“.

We need Europe’s yes

When it comes to science, the same applies to the necessary investments. According to CERN we are talking about approx 21 billion euros, some already available, some provided by Member States and almost certainly by various external partners. The decision is expected on 2028and one has now been commissioned Feasibility study started last year and is expected to be completed this year 2025. The first part of the study was completed in recent weeks, but CERN did not make it public, but instead presented the results at a press conference. However, no critical questions arose regarding the area in which it was decided to build the huge tunnel the FCCand according to the analyses Jobsif there was a green light, they could Starting in 2033.

However, there is currently no certainty about the future of the FCC. At CERN they obviously believe very much in the project, but the Council’s approval in 2028 cannot be taken for granted, also because it exists Dissenting votes in the scientific community, which considers the construction of new accelerators to be increasingly important Waste of moneywhich could be used in areas with more specific implications, such as the study of Climate change.

While this is being discussed in Europe, similar projects elsewhere are already in the planning phase. And for this reason – say the project’s proponents – it could prove to be a mistake not to use the knowledge gathered with the LHC, which would lead to the European consortium losing the leadership role it has acquired in the study of particle physics. THE Chinese rivalsfor example, are very active and have already planned a double project to that of the FCC: this Circular electron-positron acceleratora cyclotron with a circumference of 91 kilometers that could open its doors this decade.

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