CERN's Ambitious Future Circular Collider: Unlocking the Secrets of the Universe

CERN’s Ambitious Future Circular Collider: Unlocking the Secrets of the Universe

CERN’s proposed Future Circular Collider, a particle accelerator three times larger than its predecessor the Large Hadron Collider, has physicists buzzing. The £12 billion collider aims to search for elusive dark matter and energy, which account for 95% of the universe but have never been directly observed.

Supporters are thrilled at the possibility of new discoveries that could revolutionize physics. CERN Director General Fabiola Gianotti called it a “beautiful machine” that could unlock fundamental mysteries. However, some view the price tag as reckless when urgent global priorities like climate change remain.

The LHC helped discover the Higgs boson in 2012, a long-sought particle that fills a hole in the prevailing physics theory. But it has failed to find dark matter and energy. The FCC offers hope by smashing particles with greater energy potentially capable of producing these unknown entities.

Phase one involves colliding electrons, while phase two several decades later will use protons and require advanced magnet tech yet to exist. Some scientists question whether success is likely given over 20 years of failed searches. Skeptics including physicist Sabine Hossenfelder suggest rethinking assumptions and scale in particle physics rather than pursuing ever-larger accelerators.

Alternate designs do exist, like cheaper linear colliders needing shorter tunnels. But CERN opted for a circular design after extensive consultation. Funding nations including the UK haven’t fully committed; their legislatures may balk at contributing billions amid pressing social priorities.

The astronomical FCC cost and distant timeframe have fueled vigorous debate. Supporters feel it could crack enduring mysteries about our universe’s fundamental composition. Critics argue the funds would be better directed toward urgent threats society faces now in the 21st century.