David Kirkpatrick

August 3, 2009

Large Hadron Collider facing more problems

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:22 pm

This New York Times article on the Large Hadron Collider is disturbing for anyone who’s been looking forward to major scientific advancement coming out of Geneva anytime soon. I’ve done plenty of blogging on the LHC and was looking forward to it finally being up and running after the initial misfire. Looks like major problems are going to be a part of this project for a while to come.

From the first link:

The biggest, most expensive physics machine in the world is riddled with thousands of bad electrical connections.

Many of the magnets meant to whiz high-energy subatomic particles around a 17-mile underground racetrack have mysteriously lost their ability to operate at high energies.

Some physicists are deserting the European project, at least temporarily, to work at a smaller, rival machine across the ocean.

After 15 years and $9 billion, and a showy “switch-on” ceremony last September, the Large Hadron Collider, the giant particle accelerator outside Geneva, has to yet collide any particles at all.

But soon?

This week, scientists and engineers at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, are to announce how and when their machine will start running this winter.

That will be a Champagne moment. But scientists say it could be years, if ever, before the collider runs at full strength, stretching out the time it should take to achieve the collider’s main goals, like producing a particle known as the Higgs boson thought to be responsible for imbuing other elementary particles with mass, or identifying the dark matter that astronomers say makes up 25 percent of the cosmos.

The energy shortfall could also limit the collider’s ability to test more exotic ideas, like the existence of extra dimensions beyond the three of space and one of time that characterize life.

“The fact is, it’s likely to take a while to get the results we really want,” said Lisa Randall, a Harvard physicist who is an architect of the extra-dimension theory.


  1. […] Collider, physics, superconcductor, teraelectron volt — davidkirkpatrick @ 9:24 pm As an update to this post, here’s the latest news out of CERN regarding the troubled […]

    Pingback by Large Hadron Collider to initially run at lower power « David Kirkpatrick — August 6, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

  2. […] an update to this post, here’s the latest news out of CERN regarding the troubled […]

    Pingback by Large Hadron Collider to initially run at lower power | Phasing — August 7, 2009 @ 5:20 am

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