10 things similarly priced to the Future Circular Collider

10 things similarly priced to the Future Circular Collider

Last week, a proposal for the Future Circular Collider revealed at CERN sparked a lot of discussion. The biggest stumbling block was the hefty price tag, with estimates of around $10 billion or more. While Elon Musk tweeted he could help save billions by digging the necessary tunnel, the QM wondered: how much is $10 billion actually?

Well, here are 10 things with a similar price tag to the Future Circular Collider:

What? Price tag How many FCCs?
USA military spending (annually) $677.1 billion 67
Brexit divorce bill £39 ($51) billion 5
US government shutdown (start of this year) $6 billion 0.6
Harvard University endowment $39.2 billion 4
Administrative staff of the European Union (annually) $11 billion 1
GDP of Luxembourg $62.4 billion 6
Properties owned by the British Crown Estate £12 ($16) billion 1.6
Tax breaks Amazon for opening new offices $2.2 billion 0.2
Noord-Zuidlijn (metro line in Amsterdam) €3.1 ($3.5) billion 0.3
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) aircraft carrier $12.8 billion (+ $4.7 billion for R&D) 1-2

In comparison to these examples, it seems a lot less money than it did before – especially as a one-off construction cost, split by many different governments. If the European Union will indeed foot the bill will depend on the outcome of the European Strategy for Particle Physics Update, a conversation taking place over the next two years.

After this post was published, I became aware of several other figures of note. Examples include: $14.5 billion in tax evasion by Apple via the “double Irish with a Dutch sandwich” offshore tax construction (1.4 FCCs), an estimated $550 million for active-duty troops’ deployment at the US-Mexico border in 2019 alone (0.05 FCCs). Please feel free to contribute examples in the comment section – in particular relating to government spending.


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