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Europe is Designing a New Particle Collider to Take On China

CERN chief Gianotti says the world can afford only one giant accelerator
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Photographer: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

CERN, the European nuclear physics research organization, is contemplating the development of a particle accelerator three times larger than the Large Hadron Collider that confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson, a move intended to match growing Chinese ambitions in particle physics.

Fabiola Gianotti, CERN’s director general, said in an interview that the organization has begun design studies for a new circular super-collider that would be between 90 to 100 kilometers long. CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, currently the world’s highest energy particle accelerator, measures 27 kilometers.

The collider is famous for finding the Higgs boson in 2012, considered one of the most important discoveries in particle physics in decades. The particle helps explain how the visible universe holds together.