The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) may be feared by many to be the eventual end of the world, but if it is, the emphasis is on “eventual”: it just seems to keep getting delayed or shut down. First, it was the cooling system, then there was a problem with the superconducting magnets, then a bird (possibly from the future?) caused a serious overheating problem by dropping a piece of baguette into a thermal vent.
Now comes the announcement that the LHC will shut down yet again by the end of 2011: this time, because of design and safety problems brought about by mistakes made during its construction.
We previously knew that CERN was going to shut down the LHC some time in the next two years, but we didn’t know how soon, why, or for how long.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) must close at the end of 2011 for up to a year to address design issues, according to an LHC director.
Dr Steve Myers told BBC News the faults will delay the machine reaching its full potential for two years.
The atom smasher will reach world record collision energies later this month at 7 trillion electron volts.
But joints between the machine’s magnets must be strengthened before higher-energy collisions can commence.
The LHC just restarted on February 28th following a planned two-and-a-half month winter recess.
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