CERN lays out vision for next-generation particle collider

Aerial View of the CERN. Credit: CERN

Scientists behind the world's largest atom smasher have laid out their multibillion-euro vision to build an even bigger one, in hopes of unlocking even more secrets of matter and the universe in the coming decades.

Officials at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, presented Tuesday their study for a "Future Circular Collider" inside a 100-kilometer (62-mile) circumference tunnel that could start operating in 2040.

It would sit next to the current 27-kilometer (17-mile) circumference Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, which is perhaps best known for helping confirm the subatomic Higgs boson in 2012.

Officials hope for a decision by CERN's 22 member states within the next few years about the project that would debut with an electron-positron collider at an estimated cost of 9 billion euros ($10.25 billion).

A second phase would involve a superconducting proton machine in the same tunnel, at a cost of about 15 billion euros more. That machine could start operation in the late 2050s.

The concept paper, five years in the making, aimed to explore prospects of "tantalizingly more powerful particle colliders that can inaugurate the post-LHC era in high-energy physics," CERN said on its website.

Ultimately, the FCC would include a superconducting proton accelerator ring with energy of up to 100 tera electron volts, compared with a maximum 17 TeV in the current collider.

CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti called the report "a remarkable achievement" that could help boost understanding of fundamental physics and advance technologies.

CERN said it was not possible to say exactly what benefits the new collider would bring to the world, but pointed out that the discovery of the electron in 1897 led to the electronics industry that now contributes $3 trillion annually to the world economy.

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Jan 15, 2019
due south... in the direction of... ITER

CERN future gen makes the antimatter, stores it in the tokamak, loads it into the starship for launch across the Mittelmeer...

Monaco. What a nice place for a spaceport.

Jan 15, 2019
Maybe they want to consider completing the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) near Waxahachie, Texas. Its planned ring circumference was 87.1 kilometers (54.1 mi), with 17 shafts and 23.5 km (14.6 mi) of tunnel already completed.

Unfortunately, chemical company Magnablend bought the property and facilities in 2012 after their disastrous fire in 2011, so it may be a toxic waste site at this point, who knows?

Jan 16, 2019
"We have just spend 4 billion and found nothing we did not expect. Can we have another 20 billion to try again please?" I vote "no" on this one.

Jan 16, 2019
And if they hadn't found it you'd be whining about that. Don't be a dick, @dirk.

Jan 16, 2019
Da Shneib. What are they hoping to find? Does 35 billion€ justify the end result? Does mankind benefit or is it just prestige for particle physicists? Its not an odd question to ask? I know science doesn't come cheap but does the pursuit of knowledge outweigh more pressing problems on terra firma?

Jan 16, 2019
What I mean to say is, is the quote about the electron, which had absolutely nothing to do with CERN, the best argument they can come up with as to why so much should be invested?

Jan 16, 2019
The Chinese have an 80Km ring for P+ - P+ collisions on the boards right NOW. They will not be deterred from building this as followon to others they are actually BUILDing right now. The Chinese who are practical in all things see value in this. WE either do it too. Or one day our children will all speak Chinese and work for real Chinese.............AS SLAVES. The trolls we see, we have to consider either agents, trolls, economic saboteurs, or useful fools... ALL of them aid China's seek for world hegemony.

Jan 16, 2019
I am baffled by people who seem to think spending big money for big science projects is some sort of outrage to their personal finances.

No, they do not use dollar bills to fuel rockets, Nor will they dig a big pit, dump the money in & set fire to it while dancing whither-shines.

Even though a number of economists would agree those would be a good way to dispose of excess money.

Instead, a whole lot of working people get paid out of the funding. Somebody has to mine the materials, refine & manufacture, truck & maintain & bulldoze & plumbing, construction & cabling & on & on & on.

Those people stop at the fast-food hut you janitor at, to buy their lunch to go. So even you will get a taste of that "extravagant" "wasteful" project.

Along with tens of thousands of other people.

Jan 16, 2019
@Martinchen, no one can say what they will find. It's not a project at a corporation; it's science, which is about finding out things no one knew before. Considering the LHC found the Higgs boson, and we still don't know what it might find after the current upgrade is finished and new observations begin, I'd say it's worthwhile. Yet again we built a new instrument and found out new stuff. The track record seems pretty good. The RHIC is still going strong, and still finding out new stuff, after all.

What will it all boil down to in terms of technology? We won't know until we look. Are you saying we shouldn't look?

Jan 17, 2019
Are you saying we shouldn't look?

Murphy's Law guarantees that if we don't look, that is where the discovery we need is to be found. :-)

Jan 17, 2019
Oh Mark. mice sentiment. Hopeful & optimistic.

Butt in my Universe of Stupid Design? Murphy's Law ugly-much guarantees that we will never discover enough.
& often wind up regretting that we failed to use a discovery wisely...

Jan 17, 2019

at what point does there exist logic

Jan 17, 2019
The perceived perversity of the universe has long been a subject of comment, and precursors to the modern version of Murphy's law are not hard to find. The concept may be as old as humanity . . . a version of the law, (is) in a report by Alfred Holt at an 1877 meeting of an engineering society.


I didn't create the universe or Murphy's Law, I am only making an observation. Do you actually think it wise to give up on particle accelerators? It may prove impossible to reassemble the skills and technology once everyone with experience is gone. Even if there are no more particles to detect, maybe we can flush out further details on the ones we already are aware of.

Jan 17, 2019
Well hyped, at no point where you are concerned,is to be found any logic.

Mark, you miss the pointed logic of failure. There is no "endpoint" for scientific discovery. That is what separates Real Science from the frauds of woo.

The woomongers tantrums mindlessly endlessly that "this far & no farther".

That they have all the knowledge that is required to bamboozle the gullible. & they resent that every day, new knowledge confronts & confirms that their beliefs are totally false.

They lack the testicles & moral character to ever admit that they are ever mistaken, ever about anything.

Jan 20, 2019
maybe we can flush out further details on the ones we already are aware of.

My comment is positively oozing with logic. One of the justifications is cranking out loads of Higgs Bosons with electron/positron collisions to study possible interaction with dark matter, etc.

The primary goal of the electron-positron collider would be to study the Higgs boson, the particle implicated in the origin of the masses of the other fundamental particles. The new collider would create millions of Higgs bosons and measure their properties in unprecedented detail.

So exactly where is your logic?

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