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The Future Circular Collider: A Bold Leap in Particle Physics

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Anthony Raphael
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The Future Circular Collider: A Bold Leap in Particle Physics

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A New Era in Particle Acceleration

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Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) are making headway in their ambitious multibillion-euro project, the Future Circular Collider (FCC). The FCC, costing an estimated 15 billion Swiss francs, is slated to begin operations in 2040. Currently under a feasibility study, the project has not encountered any technical roadblocks, sparking confidence among the researchers.

The collider, a successor to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is designed to be three times its size with a loop of 91 kilometers. The project aims to elevate our understanding of fundamental physics and stimulate innovation in various technologies. The FCC is anticipated to achieve energy levels of 100 TeV, eight times that of the LHC's 13 TeV, making it a powerful tool for exploring the universe's mysteries.

Unravelling the Universe's Mysteries

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Since the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, the LHC hasn't unveiled significant new physics. This is where the FCC steps in. The massive collider, at least three times the size of the LHC, is set to examine nature's laws at the smallest scales and highest energies. It aims to answer unresolved questions in fundamental physics and expand our understanding of the universe.

However, the societal relevance of this grand project and the massive investment required have faced criticism. Yet, it's undeniable that the FCC's potential to unlock the secrets of the universe is a tantalizing prospect for scientists worldwide.

A Two-Stage Endeavour

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The FCC's construction is planned in two stages. The first phase involves colliding electrons and positrons, while the second phase, scheduled for the 2070s, will collide protons. Due to the increased radiation generated, the FCC will need to be positioned twice as deep underground as the LHC.

The total cost for both stages is estimated at around $17 billion, with construction expected to commence in 2033. The FCC's configuration is planned as a circular tunnel 90.7 kilometers long and 5.5 meters in diameter, passing under the Geneva region and looping around to the south near the French town of Annecy.

Exploring New Frontiers in Particle Physics

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The Future Circular Collider aims to push the boundaries of particle physics. As a proposed particle accelerator at CERN, it offers the potential to provide new insights into the fundamental forces and particles of the universe. The FCC's primary goal is to be a 'discovery machine,' addressing unresolved questions in fundamental physics and understanding the universe's structure and evolution.

A Vision for the Future of Physics

The Future Circular Collider is an ambitious and forward-thinking project. While it is still in the planning stages, there are no identified 'technical show-stoppers,' and the CERN team is confident about moving forward. The collider's goal to boost energy levels of particle collisions to 100 TeV is an exciting prospect, potentially revealing new insights into the universe and driving innovation in various fields.

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