In 2018, the world witnessed a major scientific achievement as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced the approval of the construction of the world’s largest particle accelerator. The new facility, known as the Future Circular Collider (FCC), is expected to break new ground in the field of particle physics, providing a deeper understanding of the fundamental building blocks of the universe.
The FCC is a massive upgrade to the existing Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which was responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson particle in 2012. The new facility will be built underground and will measure around 100 km in circumference, making it almost four times the size of the LHC. It will be capable of colliding particles at much higher energies than previous colliders, allowing scientists to study the most fundamental particles in the universe.
One of the key implications of the FCC is the potential discovery and study of new particles that could shed light on some of the biggest mysteries of the universe, such as the nature of dark matter and the existence of extra dimensions beyond the three we experience. Dark matter is a hypothetical form of matter that is thought to make up around 85% of the total matter in the universe, yet its properties and interactions with other particles are still largely unknown. The FCC could provide crucial insights into the nature of dark matter and help scientists determine how it affects the formation and evolution of galaxies.
Another major implication of the FCC is the potential discovery of new forces that govern the behavior of particles. Currently, the standard model of particle physics describes the behavior of particles and their interactions through four fundamental forces: electromagnetism, gravity, the strong force, and the weak force. However, there could be other forces at work that scientists have not yet detected, and the FCC could provide the necessary energy and precision to uncover them.
The FCC is also expected to provide valuable insights into the early universe and the conditions that existed just moments after the Big Bang. By simulating the high-energy collisions that occurred shortly after the Big Bang, the FCC could help scientists understand how the universe evolved and why it is the way it is today.
The construction of the FCC is expected to take several decades, and its cost could run into the billions of dollars. However, the potential benefits of the facility are immense, and the insights gained from its operation could shape our understanding of the universe for decades to come. As particle physicist Pauline Gagnon stated, “This is really a unique opportunity for humankind to try to understand the universe at the most fundamental level.”