A bird dropping a baguette temporarily shut down the $5 billion Large Hadron Collider earlier this month. But scientists have a good feeling about the restart, which is slated for Friday, the The Guardian reports.
By Carina StorrsPosted 10.28.2009 at 1:30 pm 25 Comments
Before scientists can put the Large Hadron Collider back to work this month solving the mysteries of particle physics, the LHC's engineers face critical repairs to the $5-billion device. First up: Fix the 53 superconducting magnets trashed in September 2008 when a power cable broke, causing the magnets to warm above their –458˚F operating temperature and lose conductivity, or "quench." Then pipes for helium coolant melted, further damaging the magnets.
Over the weekend, Cern ran particle beams through the Large Hadron Collider for the first time since it was shut down last September. After a helium leak caused magnets to overheat, operations at the LHC were suspended for cleanup and repairs. After tests on October 23 and 25, scientists hope to have the LHC running again in full by November.
The troubled Large Hadron Collider, switched on last fall and then off again when its magnets broke, has a bright future.
Tom Hanks, star of Big and The Polar Express, has been invited to turn on the system when its repairs are complete, in what may be history's first celebrity restarting of a particle accelerator.
All those planning for the end of the world in July, rest easy and enjoy the summer.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is delaying the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) startup another two months. According to CERN, the LHC will go live in September and collisions will begin in October.
After decades of work, the Large Hadron Collider went live 143 days ago and went down 139 days ago. Its being offline, however, has hardly put an end to speculation over what exactly will happen when the repairs are completed and the switch is flipped on the world's largest particle accelerator. Scientists from the Universities of Bologna and Alabama recently submitted a paper to Cornelll's arXiv.org exploring the possibility that those (harmless) microscopic black holes we'd heard so much about could stick around longer than previously believed. No matter that their conclusion was basically, still: "so what? Ain't gonna do nothin." News outlets,as SciAm notes, jumped over the story and the anti-LHC kook-contingent resurfaced.
So here's to you, naysayers and doomsdayers alike. After the jump, a very special episode of "Science of YouTube," wherein the LHC goes online and the Earth is destroyed. Enjoy!
Nine days after the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) turned on its proton beam for the first time, the LHC needed to be turned off. Over the weekend the agency running the Collider announced that an accident damaged the magnets that guide the beam, putting the LHC out of commission for at least two months as scientists work to repair the equipment.
The purpose of the LHC is to get lots of protons moving very, very fast. The magnet system is the core piece of technology that makes this happen. More than 1,200 magnet sections, each weighing 10 tons, bend proton beams through vacuum pipes around the 17-mile-long underground tunnel near Geneva. Since these protons are going so fast—99.9999991 percent of the speed of light—superconducting coils of niobium and titanium must produce a magnetic field that's about 200,000 times as strong as Earth's to bend them.
As the Large Hadron Collider readies to be fired up in Geneva, Physicist Brian Cox explains what it might reveal about the workings of the Universe—and why the grandest scientific
instrument ever built is well worth the $6 billion investment
Today’s most ambitious scientific instruments are modern-day cathedrals in their size and complexity, if not in their purpose—these are, after all, structures built to shatter worldviews, not to reinforce them. And the grandest of all, pictured on these pages and fired into action today, will take us on a journey to one of the least-accessible places imaginable: the realm of quantum particles, less than a billionth the size of a single atom.
The most powerful and complex science experiment in the history of the universe is finally—after 14 years and $10 billion—about to begin. There’s no telling what it may find, and that’s entirely the point
The proton is a persistent thing. The first one crystallized out of the universe's chaotic froth just 0.00001 of a second after the big bang, when existence was squeezed into a space about the size of the solar system. The rest quickly followed. Protons for the most part have survived unchanged through the intervening 13.8 billion years—joining with electrons to make hydrogen gas, fusing in stars to form the heavier elements, but all the while remaining protons. And they will continue to remain protons for billions of years to come.