Large Hadron Collider to restart

By | February 10, 2009

Large Hadron Collider to restart

The LHC stopped working on September 19 last year due to a faulty electrical connection. According to the BBC, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) decided on Monday that it could be switched back on next September, several months later than expected. Cern drew up a proposed schedule for the machine’s future on Friday which has now been given the go-ahead, the broadcaster said. It detailed new early warning systems in case the machine stops functioning properly again. The LHC was built underground between France and Switzerland and is designed to make beams of sub-atomic particles collide. Scientists will examine the new particles created by these collisions and it is hoped the results will expand understanding of the universe. Since the machine broke down, three suspect electrical connections were found and 53 magnets will be replaced. Another 100 cannot be tested until September and could also need replacing, Cern said.

The group’s Director for Accelerators Steve Myers said: “Cern’s priority for 2009 is to get collision data for the experiments, but with caution as the guiding principle.” If re-started on schedule, the LHC could continue running until autumn 2010 to provide enough data for planned experiments, Cern said.

via Large Hadron Collider to restart – Telegraph.

Probably best not to mention 2010 in an article about something some people believe will destory the Earth. Gizmodo has the reassurance you seek:

Contrary to the somewhat feverish claims laid out in an recent lawsuit, when our favorite particle-smashing, Force-finding Large Hadron Collider is switched on soon it will not result in the destruction of life as we know it. Such claims are “complete nonsense” say the scientists at CERN (and everywhere else,) in response to the suit. They should know: it’s their machine, they designed it and they’ve been telling everyone for a while that their research shows it’s safe.

The lawsuit filed by a group of Hawaii residents is alleging that not enough safety checks have been made by CERN to prevent disaster when the LHC goes live in the coming weeks. It may “create unsafe conditions of physics” which may have disastrous effects. How? Well, you may imagine a micro black hole gobbling up everything unstoppably, while a strangelet (a hypothetical clump of particles including strange quarks) may run amok converting all nearby matter into strange matter, also wrecking the Earth.

James Gillies, a CERN spokesman, suggests this is rubbish in this response to the New Scientist: “The LHC will start up this year, and it will produce all sorts of exciting new physics and knowledge about the universe.” It’s no threat at all, he says: “A year from now, the world will still be here.” The LHC is actually designed to probe the boundaries of physics, and while a 2003 safety study did conceed that micro black holes or magnetic monopoles may be formed, they would be short-lived and offer no threat. – gizmodo

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