Big Bang Machine to be re-started later this year

February 9th, 2009 - 3:46 pm ICT by ANI  

Large Hadron Collider

London, Feb 9 (ANI): An official statement from CERN indicates that the Large Hadron Collider, popularly known as the Big Bang Machine, will be up and running in time to deliver the first batch of data for experts to begin experiments by the end of the year.

The LHC, the biggest atom-smashing machine ever built, straddles the borders of France and Switzerland and is operated by Cern, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva.

It is designed to simulate the Big Bang, which started the universe 15 billion years ago, by smashing sub-atomic particles together at energies never before achieved.

But, it suffered a catastrophic malfunction soon after being switched on last September amid a fanfare of publicity.

Officials and scientists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which built the 4 billion pounds device, have been in talks this week about when to re-start it.

They have also discussed what caused the LHC to grind to a halt and how to prevent similar incidents happening in the future.

According to a report in the Telegraph, CERN have now said that they hope the machine will be up and running in time to deliver the first batch of data for experts to begin experiments by the end of the year.

A final decision on the exact date to switch it back on is expected to be taken soon.

The breakdown on September 19 was blamed on a faulty electrical connection, which led to a leak of super-cold helium causing damage estimated at 20 million pounds.

As a result, 53 of the magnets used to accelerate sub-atomic particles around the machines 17-mile underground tunnel had to be brought to the surface for repair or cleaning.

Two further suspect connections have since been found and engineers are working to remedy the problem, this week’’s meeting in Chamonix was told.

CERN said that if the plans for re-starting the LHC are approved, it will start producing physics data late this year, through to the end of 2010.

These recommendations represent the best way forward for the LHC and for the field of particle physics in general, said Steve Myers, CERNs Director for Accelerators, who chaired the meeting.

CERNs priority for 2009 is to get collision data for the experiments, but with caution as the guiding principle. The recommendations made to the CERN management are cautious, while achieving the goal of running this year, he added. (ANI)

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