£17billion atom smasher capable of accelerating particles to almost the speed of light proposed to shed light on the universe

  • The Future Circular Collider will be triple the size of the Large Hadron Collider  

Scientists have submitted proposals for a new £17billion 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 at the Swiss-French border.

It will be capable of accelerating particles to almost the speed of light before crashing them into each other, possibly shedding light on the mysterious dark matter and dark energy that make up 95 per cent of the universe.

The FCC, proposed by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), will be triple the size of the 16.6-mile Large Hadron Collider at the same site. 

The Higgs Boson, also known as the God Particle, was first detected there in 2012.

The Future Circular Collider will be three times the size of the Large Hadron Collider

The Future Circular Collider will be three times the size of the Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider Atlas detector while under construction

The Large Hadron Collider Atlas detector while under construction

Director of CERN, Fabiola Gianotti during a meeting at the World Economic Forum (WEF)

Director of CERN, Fabiola Gianotti during a meeting at the World Economic Forum (WEF)

Unlike that machine, which is buried 260ft deep, the new one will have to go 650ft underground to prevent harmful radiation from reaching the surface.

Professor Fabiola Gianotti, director general of CERN, said: ‘We need a larger collider because there are so many outstanding questions in fundamental physics today 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 up and running until the 2040s at the earliest. It would be funded by CERN’s 23 member states, including the UK.

Leave a Comment