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.”
It also acknowledged “the current situation.”
“CERN personnel and colleagues from around the world have reacted to the current situation with their customary professionalism and determination,” said CERN Director General Robert Aymar. “While the timing is undoubtedly a disappointment, a few extra weeks on a project that has been over two decades in the making is not very much. It is simply a fact of life in experimental physics at the frontiers of knowledge and technology.”
Even without any newfound particles, there is still something for LHC proponents to cheer about. Last week, a judge threw out a case brought by someone who wanted to keep the LHC off for good.
The upcoming bash will feature photos by National Geographic’s Frans Lanting, and the music of Philip Glass, performed by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Invitation-only guests will then enjoy “a buffet of molecular gastronomy.” Maybe the molecular gastronomy will include pizza.
Good to know there will be a return on the $8 billion the world has splurged on the LHC.