The Large Hadron Collider has produced a lot of incredible science, most notably the Higgs Boson – but the physicists at CERN, the international organization behind the LHC, are looking forward to the next model. And the planned Future Circular Collider at a distance of 100 kilometers would be an improvement.
The idea is not new. CERN has been inspecting people for years. However, the conceptual design report released today shows that all the advice was not idle: there is a relatively coherent and practical plan – as practical as a particle collider – and a reasonable case for spending about $ 21 billion
" These kinds of big efforts and projects are great networking opportunities to connect institutions across borders, "said Michael Benedikt of CERN, who led the report, to Nature. "All these things together are a very good argument to advance such unique scientific projects."
On the other hand, although the LHC was a great success, it has not just given the physicists a clear guide to what to pursue next. The lack of new cosmic mysteries – for example, a truly abnormal outcome or a mysterious gap in which a particle is expected – has convinced some that they simply need to turn up the heat, but others that are bigger are not necessarily better.
The draft The document provides several possible colliders, of which the 100 km ring is the largest and would produce collisions with the highest energy. Sure, you could collapse protons with 100,000 gigaelectron volts instead of 16,000 – but what exactly will this help? We've left my subject areas as they are at this point so far that I will not speculate, but the question is at least one that is raised by the professionals.
It is worth noting that Chinese physicists are planning something similar, so there is also the aspect of international competition. How should that affect the plans? Should we just ask China if we can use them? The academic world is much less affected by global conflict and politics than the tech world, but it's still not ideal.
There are many options to consider, and time is not critical. It would take a decade or more to get started on even the simplest and cheapest proposals.