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Short Circuit Hinders The Large Hadron Collider’s Restart

Large Hadron Collider Short Circuit

Restarting the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, which is the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, has run into a setback after an intermittent short circuit was detected in one of the particle accelerator’s eight magnet sectors, CERN announced in a release published on Tuesday.

While the issue of the short circuit, which was first identified on March 21, is well understood, CERN indicates that it could take some time to resolve due to its location in the cold section of the machine which may require warming up and re-cooling post repair.

The European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) is an advanced scientific research institute in Geneva, Switzerland which is supported by a consortium of European countries. It’s also one of the world’s premiere locations for particle physics research.

Frederick Bordry, CERN’s director for accelerators, was quoted in the release as having explained that cryogenic machines are time amplifiers, “so what would have taken hours in a warm machine could end up taking” weeks in the cold section of the LHC.

Any cryogenic machine is a time amplifier […] so what would have taken hours in a warm machine could end up taking us weeks.

The delay is expected to last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

After the two-year shutdown for upgrades, the LHC was scheduled to begin recirculating beams of protons this week in preparation for the resumption of science operations. The machine was shutdown in 2012 for upgrades intended to prevent magnetic meltdowns after an episode in 2008 in which a faulty electronic connection caused a couple of magnets to overheat, melt and subsequently trigger a pressure helium gas explosion.

Aaron Dominguez, a physicist at the University of Nebraska, was quoted by Wired as having said that it was a “pretty depressing” day when they broke the accelerator.

It was pretty depressing when we broke the accelerator […] That was not a good day.

In 2012, while the LHC was running at half its capabilities, physicists discovered the elusive subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson, which earned a Nobel Prize before the particle accelerator’s engineers opted to upgrade it in order to prevent a meltdown reminiscent of 2012’s occurrence.

CERN’s director general Rolf Heuer was quoted in the release as having said that “a few weeks delay in humankind’s quest to understand our universe is little more than the blink of an eye.”

All the signs are good for a great run 2 […] In the grand scheme of things, a few weeks delay in humankind’s quest to understand our universe is little more than the blink of an eye.

Are you excited to see the Large Hadron Collider back in action, smashing protons at a rate of a billion times per second?

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