Mar 13, 2009 | 2
Computer scientists, engineers and journalists converged on the CERN particle physics lab in the suburbs of Geneva, Switzerland, today to pay homage to a piece of paper—several pieces of paper, actually—that together form Tim Berners-Lee's March 1989 proposal that would come to be the blueprint for the World Wide Web.
Berners-Lee, the one-time CERN software consultant who went on to invent the Web and found the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), began his keynote today commemorating the 20th anniversary of his proposal with a copy of his now-famous document in hand. "I wrote it 20 years ago, 20 years ago nothing happened," he said, referring to the seven months the proposal languished on his supervisor's desk before in September that year he was given money to buy some computers and pursue his idea. (For more coverage of the Web's 20th anniversary, see Scientific American.com's in-depth report.)
Feb 6, 2009 | 11
Here we go again. Giving doomsayers yet more time to predict the end of the Earth, the perpetually delayed restart of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has once again been pushed back. CERN, the European lab for particle physics that manages the mega particle accelerator, has nudged the start-up from this summer to some point later in the year at the earliest. The lab is still dealing with repercussions from a September electrical malfunction that put the kibosh on the collider's operation shortly after its initial start-up.
According to CERN, some of the magnets in the LHC's 17-mile- (27-kilometer-) long tunnel will not be ready for testing until September; the lab had previously said it planned to have the collider operating by the end of June. CERN's top brass are set to meet Monday to decide on an advisory panel's recommendations for a repair-and-restart timeline that would have the LHC running by the end of the year.*
Dec 2, 2008 | 3
It's a good indication of the rabid anticipation surrounding the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) that any tidbit about the giant particle accelerator's restart is scrutinized as if it were the Zapruder film. A case in point is a single image from a 52-slide presentation given recently by Jörg Wenninger, a member of the operations group at CERN, the European lab for particle physics, where the LHC sits dormant. (An electrical malfunction that caused a helium leak crippled the accelerator shortly after it came online in September.)
The slide in question provides two scenarios, one in which the LHC starts up again as planned next summer and another in which the beam is not switched on until 2010 to allow for a full upgrade of pressure relief systems. Several blogs made note of the slide, fueling speculation that it would be a full year before the world's biggest science experiment gets under way in earnest. Not true, CERN spokesperson James Gillies told ScientificAmerican.com in an e-mail, insisting that "the LHC will start up in 2009."
Nov 17, 2008 | 1
The eagerly awaited start-up of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest particle accelerator, has been put off—again. The LHC was shut down in September, just days after being switched on for the first time, when an electrical malfunction caused a helium leak in the collider's tunnel. The repairs, which had been expected to last until spring, will now keep the LHC off-line into early summer, according to published statements from a spokesman for the accelerator's operator.
Oct 16, 2008 | 3
Initial suspicions that a faulty electrical connection between two magnets inside the giant Large Hadron Collider (LHC) caused a helium leak that ultimately shut down the machine have proved correct.
Mechanical damage from the September 19 electrical snafu caused the magnet to release helium into the particle accelerator's 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which operates the LHC, said today. CERN's investigation confirms its original explanation for the leak.
Sep 23, 2008 | 4
The world's largest physics experiment is on hold until spring while scientists and engineers try to figure out what caused a helium leak into the tunnel deep beneath the Large Hadron Collider, its operator says.
Making the tunnel warm enough for humans, then giving them the time to inspect the magnets blamed for the Sept. 19 leak, will take three to four weeks, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) says in a statement. CERN believes a faulty electrical connection between two magnets that will guide protons in planned collision studies is behind the leak.
Sep 22, 2008 | 4
Physicists are brushing off problems that led them to shut down the world's largest particle collider for repairs and temporarily halt an $8 billion search for the origins of the universe.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) says that it will take at least two months to fix a "large helium leak" into the Large Hadron Collider's 17-mile tunnel. The likely cause of the drip: a faulty electrical connection between two magnets that are supposed to guide the protons in planned particle-collision experiments.
The mishap occurred Friday, a day after CERN admitted that a transformer had broken just hours after the LHC's Sept. 10 launch. The transformer malfunction caused the tunnel to heat up from minus 455.8 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees on the Kelvin scale) to minus 451.57 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Kelvin). Once scientists replaced the transformer, the cryogenic fluids that keep the tunnel cold brought temperatures down to around minus 459.4 degrees Fahrenheit (zero degrees Kelvin), the optimal temperature for particle collisions, within a week.
Sep 19, 2008 | 8
Did the group spearheading the world's biggest physics experiment just not want to spoil the party?
Within hours of its launch, the Large Hadron Collider malfunctioned, its operator has admitted — a week after powerful particle accelerator was turned on, the Associated Press is reporting.
A 30-ton transformer that cools part of the particle smasher broke on Sept. 11 after scientists sent a counter-clockwise beam around the 17-mile tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border, raising temperatures in the ring to 4.5 Kelvin (-451.57 Fahrenheit). The first, clockwise beam had been sent around the tunnel the day before, when the LHC was turned on.
Sep 10, 2008 | 52
The particle-smashing Large Hadron Collider(LHC) is up and running, and we're still here.
"We've got a beam on the LHC," project leader Lyn Evans told his colleagues to applause after the machine finished coaxing a beam of protons around the 17-mile (27-kilometer) tunnel at 10:28 a.m. CEST (4:28 a.m. ET).
“There it is! There it is!” shouted the announcer from the European Organization for Nuclear Research, according to a live blog of the event on Symmetry Breaking. “Congratulations! This is astonishingly fast.” The test took about an hour to complete after CERN injected the proton beam into the LHC.
Sep 9, 2008 | 74
Heads up, science fiends and night owls: The greatest science experiment ever built is set to switch on at around 3:30 A.M. Eastern time tomorrow.
After 14 years and $8 billion, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) plans to inject the first beam of protons fully around the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the circular particle accelerator 17 miles (27 kilometers) long straddling the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva.
It will most assuredly not destroy the world.
What it will do is help researchers answer some big questions about the universe—why particles have mass; what dark matter may be made of, and why matter survived its brush with antimatter when the universe was young.
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