Oct 3, 2008 | 3
What if the people who run the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) threw a party, and no particles came?
That’s what is set to happen on October 21, when CERN plans an inauguration ceremony for the supercollider. After a much-ballyhooed first proton beam run on September 10, the LHC won’t actually be operational until next year, thanks to a few early mishaps. Not exactly the results LHC operators were hoping for – but why let a little thing like failure get in the way of celebrating?
A press release announcing the ceremony stressed the positive:
“It’s remarkable how quickly the LHC went through its paces on 10 September,” LHC project leader Lyn Evans said, “and testimony to the rigorous preparation that has gone into building and commissioning the LHC.”
Sep 20, 2008 | 23
More glitches for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC): The same day operators announced that a 30-ton transformer that cools part of the particle smasher had broken within hours of the LHC's launch last week, a mishap yesterday resulted in "a large helium leak" into the collider's tunnel.
According to a press statement, "the most likely cause of the problem was a faulty electrical connection between two magnets, which probably melted at high current leading to mechanical failure."
No workers were at risk, according to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which runs the LHC.
The leak means that the LHC will be down for at least two months, because workers must now warm up the faulty sector of the tunnel in order to repair it. The liquid helium is used to cool the LHC's magnets -- which guide protons and accelerate them so they can be smashed together -- down to within 1.9 kelvins (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit) of absolute zero.
Aug 12, 2008 | 17
CERN loves the smell of protons in the morning. Last Friday the European particle physics lab began testing the system for injecting a proton beam into the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which if you haven't heard by now is a giant particle accelerator 27 kilometers (17 miles) in circumference. Engineers successfully fired a low-intensity beam of five million protons (the yellow in this image) clockwise for three kilometers between two checkpoints in the ring. Tests continued through Saturday. It was the first time the lab had tried out a magnet that injects protons into the LHC from a less powerful booster accelerator. CERN announced yesterday it will test a counterclockwise beam over the weekend of August 22. The purpose of the LHC is to smash those two beams together, which ought to happen for the first time later this fall. The LHC is scheduled to get its first fully circulating clockwise beam on Sept. 10. You can follow the machine's status at CERN's LHC First Beam Web site, which includes a handy countdown box. Look out, Higgs boson: T-minus 28 days and counting.
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