This funding is for initial construction only and will be provided by member countries of CERN, the LHC’s supervisory body. But some experts are questioning whether this expensive project is necessary or not.
Dark matter and dark energy are very important in physics.
Dark matter is the matter in the universe that cannot be directly observed. However, it exerts a gravitational influence on the visible matter in the universe—the galaxies, stars, and intergalactic dust. And it has long puzzled scientists.
Dark energy, on the other hand, is the mysterious form of energy that causes galaxies to drift away from each other as a result of the rapidly increasing gravitational pull.
The new machine has been named the ‘Future Circular Collider’ (FCC). CERN director-general Professor Fabiola Gianotti told the BBC it would be a ‘beautiful machine’ if approved.
“This is an instrument that will increase knowledge about our universe and help answer fundamental questions in physics,” she says. We need a more powerful tool to answer these questions.
Cerne is located near Geneva on the border of Switzerland and France. The LHC is a 27 km-long circular tunnel. In this, the hadrons in the atom are accelerated to the speed of light and then collide.
Using the particles created by the collisions, scientists try to figure out what atoms are made of and how they bond with each other.
The stage after historical discovery
Ten years ago, the supercollider led to the historic discovery of the Higgs boson.
In 1964, British scientist Peter Higgs proposed the theory that there is a subatomic particle that gives shape to all other particles in the universe. But it was discovered in 2012 at the LHC. This was the final piece of the puzzle of the current subatomic or subatomic theory of physics known as the ‘Standard Model’.
It is proposed that the FCC, larger than the LHC, be built in two phases. In the first phase, it will be active in the mid-2040s and will involve collisions of electrons.
It is hoped that the extra energy will allow more Higgs boson particles to be created and scientists will be able to observe them in greater detail.
The second phase will begin in the 2070s and will require a more powerful magnet. A magnet so powerful that it has not yet been created.
The FCC will be three times larger in diameter than the LHC and will be 91 kilometres across and twice as deep.
Why the need for a more massive Hadron collider?
That’s because the £3.75 billion LHC, which has been operating since 2008, has failed to find the particles that provide the remaining 95 percent of information about the universe.
Scientists are still searching for two great unknowns, dark matter and dark energy.
“Something big is missing,” explains Professor Fabiola Gianotti.
She says the FCC is needed because the discovery of these dark particles will lead to a new, more complete view of how the universe works.
20 years ago, several researchers at CERN predicted that the LSC would discover these mysterious particles, but this did not happen.
Critics like Dr. Sabine Hosenfelder of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy say there is no guarantee the FCC will succeed.
He said, ‘Molecular physics is a field of research that is broad for historical reasons and has ample funding. It originates from nuclear physics and the need to reduce it to a suitable volume. Perhaps a tenth of its current volume.
Professor Sir David King, the British government’s former chief scientific adviser, told the BBC that he believed spending £12 billion on the project would be “reckless”.
“When the world is facing the threat of a climate emergency, wouldn’t it be wise to use these research funds in efforts to create a better future?” he says.
Even among particle physicists, the topic is debated as to whether the Large Circular Collider is the best option.
Professor Aidan Robson of the University of Glasgow told the BBC that a collider built in a straight line would be cheaper.
He said that there are three advantages. First straight machine that can be made step by step. The second is that the cost of each phase will be different, the cost of the initial phase will be less and the third advantage will be that the tunnel will be smaller and it can be built quickly.
But CERN’s priority is the FCC. It is the result of extensive consultation between physicists in Europe and around the world, and is an attempt to gauge the reaction to its proposal from its member states, which are paying for the new machine.