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FCC Week brings a fresh breeze of ideas from Brussels

International researchers and industry meet in Brussels for the annual meeting of the Future Circular Collider (FCC) study to discuss the post-LHC era


FCC week 2019
CERN’s Director-General, Fabiola Gianotti, welcomes participants to the FCC Week 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. The event also marks the final event of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 EuroCirCol project. (Image: Nicolas Lobet/CERN)

From 24 to 28 June, more than 400 researchers from around the world convened at the annual meeting of the Future Circular Collider (FCC) study. Academic and research institutes, industrial partners and funding agencies discussed innovations in the fields of superconductivity, high-field magnets, superconducting RF systems and civil engineering studies and sought to clarify issues surrounding the experimental research topics that FCC can address.

This year’s meeting marked the final event of the Horizon 2020 EuroCirCol project. Thanks to the European Union’s support, a wealth of results in high-tech domains were achieved through the collaborative efforts of partners from Europe and from non-European countries such as the USA, Japan, Korea and Russia. Researchers demonstrated impressive progress toward 16-Tesla magnets and in the performance of superconducting wires. In the context of the US DOE magnet-development programme, breakthroughs in both fields, such as a first accelerator-type magnet exceeding 14 T and a 50% increase in the critical current density of Nb3Sn wire, promise to reduce significantly the costs of exploring the high-energy frontier and could find practical applications outside particle physics.

The four-volume FCC Conceptual Design Report (CDR) was presented, documenting progress since the 2013 kick-off meeting and authored by 1350 people from 150 institutes. “This report is a remarkable achievement by an effective and diverse collaboration” states Frédérick Bordry, CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technologies. “It underlines the global attractiveness of the FCC and documents the far-reaching benefits that the project can have for Europe and future generations”.

Future Circular Collider,Conceptual Design Report,CDR,FCC week 2019,Miscellaneous
The four volumes of the FCC Conceptual Design Report (CDR) recently published in the European Physical Journal were handed by Christian Caron from Springer-Nature (left) to (left to right) Michael Benedikt, FCC study leader; Fabiola Gianotti, CERN’s Director-General and Frederick Bordry, Director for Accelerators and Technology. (Image credit: Nicolas Lobet/CERN) (Image: CERN)

A wide range of talks focused on a future circular lepton collider (FCC-ee) as the first step of the FCC programme, followed by an energy-frontier proton collider (FCC-hh). Results testify to the technological readiness of the FCC-ee which, combined with progress in the design of beam optics and interaction regions, confirm the feasibility of this machine that could be operational by the end of the 2030s. This schedule would also give time to push the limits of the novel technologies required for an energy-frontier 100 TeV collider.

Precision studies of the Higgs boson, along with a number of other electroweak observables set a clear experimental challenge for the FCC. In his keynote talk, Nima Arkani-Hamed from Princeton’s Institute of Advanced Studies highlighted the importance of scrutinising the Higgs boson for the experimental programme of a post-LHC machine. Speakers also stressed the complementarity between the different collider options in searching for dark-matter candidate particles and new physics. Finally, the potential for studying the strong interaction through heavy-ion collisions and detailing the parton distribution with a proton-electron interaction point were demonstrated.

The sustainability of research infrastructures and the assessment of their societal impact were the two key themes of the “Economics of Science” workshop held during the FCC week. Experts from the field of economics shared lessons learned with representatives from CERN and other research organisations, including SKA, ESA and ESS.

The diverse mix of participants at the FCC week, the positive reception from international researchers and industry and the increasing networking opportunities for young researchers provide a solid foundation and an ideal starting point for further successful joint activities in the coming years.