Friday, June 19, 2020

CERN backs the FCC, a 100 km, €21 billion collider

I returned from a 60 km bike trip but my buddy had to cover 100 km... The latter quantity made it ideal for me to read a message from Willie saying that the CERN council has (unanimously) approved the circular collider as the next step, a ring of circumference of 100 km whose second stage can achieve the center of mass energy of 100 TeV (higher than 13 TeV of the LHC two years ago).
CERN backs new £19 BILLION (CZK 560 billion) particle accelerator that is four times bigger and six times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider (The Daily Mail)
The construction may only begin in the late 2030s when the high-luminosity (i.e. future-upgraded) LHC will have become as boring and exhausted as the normal LHC seems to be by now. I sincerely hope that the construction will be faster.

The vote was unanimous even though "Yes to the FCC" also meant "No to the linear collider alternative". The FCC should first be used as a big LEP, an electron-positron collider, before it would be upgraded to a hadron collider, just like the LEP tunnel was upgraded to the LHC two decades ago.

I think it's obvious by now that the potential for the LHC to discover new physics beyond the Higgs (which was discovered at the LHC in mid 2012) has faded away, and so did the excitement. The increase of the energy frontier remains the single most meaningful direction in which totally new, fundamental physical phenomena may be discovered.

The projected cost €21 billion is clearly negligible. In recent months, we observed how a hysterical sect destroyed some €21 trillion in the GDP (within months) by demanding that mankind locks itself in the basement and worships a stupid and irrelevant coronavirus and there was no serious discussion whether this medieval ritual was appropriate. Similarly, the climate hysteria destroys tens of trillions of euros as well but this damage is spread over many years. The problems of the Swedish girl may be solved by a padded cell for €21 thousand, no need for €21 million let alone €21 billion let alone €21 trillion (and again, it is sadly the last amount that the loons want to waste to deal with her problems: a factor of one billion overpayment).

So I sincerely hope that the allocation of the modest funds needed for the FCC will be a formality and there won't be any unproductive discussion with arrogant non-experts whether the tiny cost of the FCC, €21 billion (divided over decades!), should be spent at all. I don't have enough time, energy, and desire to deal with people who doubt the adequacy of the investment so if you express such doubts, you will be immediately banned.

The European Union's institutions have become counterproductive in too many ways and there aren't too many "shared European mechanisms and projects" that are clearly beneficial. The free trade union – and perhaps the Schengen passport area when it's not being abused to fill the Old Continent with exotic freeloaders – are two examples. But CERN is a rare example of a "big project" that Europe – the EU plus Switzerland and a few other countries – may be genuinely proud about, that stimulates the preservation of the Europeans' skills and technologies, and that has a high chance to produce science of genuinely lasting value.

Good luck to CERN and Europe, good luck to particle physics, good luck to all of us.

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