- The future circular collider will triple the size of the Large Hadron Collider
Scientists have put forward proposals for a new £17bn atom smasher to help solve the mysteries of the universe.
The Future Circular Collider (FCC) will be a 56.5-mile circular tunnel buried deep underground on the border between Switzerland and France.
It will be able to accelerate particles to nearly the speed of light before smashing them into each other, possibly shedding light on the mysterious dark matter and energy that makes up 95 percent of the universe.
The FCC, proposed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), will be three times the size of the 16.6-mile Large Hadron Collider at the same site.
The Higgs boson, also known as the divine particle, was first detected there in 2012.
The future circular collider will be three times the size of the Large Hadron Collider
The Atlas detector of the Large Hadron Collider under construction
CERN director Fabiola Gianotti during a meeting at the World Economic Forum (WEF)
Unlike that machine, which is buried 80 meters deep, the new one will have to dive 200 meters underground to prevent harmful radiation from reaching the surface.
Professor Fabiola Gianotti, Director General of CERN, said: “We need a larger collider because today there are many outstanding questions in fundamental physics and in our knowledge of the universe.”
Particle accelerators have also played a role in cancer research.
They generate high-energy protons that precisely target cancer cells without damaging surrounding tissue, help researchers test new drugs, and break down DNA to investigate the causes of cancer.
The new collider would not be operational until the 2040s at the earliest. It would be funded by CERN’s 23 member states, including the UK.