Author Topic: European physicists unveil plans for a particle collider that would be longer than the Panama Canal  (Read 276 times)

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European physicists unveil plans for a particle collider that would be longer than the Panama Canal

By Adrian ChoJan. 15, 2019 , 4:55 PM

European particle physicists today released a conceptual design for a successor to the world’s biggest atom smasher, the 27-kilometer-long Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which straddles the border between Switzerland and France. The report calls for an even bigger accelerator, that would be 100 kilometers in circumference, to study in detail the Higgs boson, the weird new particle that the LHC discovered to great fanfare in 2012. The new machine, known for the moment as the Future Circular Collider (FCC), would cost €9 billion. It would begin operations around 2040, after the LHC is scheduled to shut down, according to a statement issued by CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.

The LHC smashes protons into protons to generate the most energetic collisions currently possible. In contrast, the proposed FCC would smash electrons into their antimatter counterparts, positrons at energies 35 times lower than the LHC (but higher than any previous electron-positron collider). The electron-positron collisions would still be energetic enough to create Higgs bosons, but they would also be far cleaner and easier to analyze than the LHC’s collisions. That’s because protons are messy objects made of other particles called quarks and gluons. In contrast, electrons and positrons are, as far as physicists know, indivisible fundamental particles.
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