LHC Set for September 2009 Restart


via Space Marauder

Researchers at CERN have released a new timetable for the restart of the Large Hadron Collider after a problematic electrical connection forced the facility to be closed for repairs, just 9 days after its launch. Originally slated for an early spring restart, the announcement points to a restart in late September with the first proton collisions to occur about 4 weeks later.

The Large Hadron Collider is contained in a 17 mile long tunnel under the Swiss-French border. Over 1 billion people watched as protons first passed through the tunnel on September 10th. On September 19th, researchers were testing the electrical wiring to make sure that it could handle the massive currents needed to pass protons around the ring when the connection between two magnets melted, causing the cryogenic plumbing to be damaged. The plumbing keeps the superconducting magnets frigid at nearly -455.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

The damage caused a helium leak in sectors 3 and 4, and in order for repairs to take place 53 of the LHC’s magnets had to be brought to the surface. The repairs and other preventive measures are expected to cost CERN nearly €20 million. New monitoring systems include 230km of cables that will detect nano-ohm rises in electrical resistance in the wires that are used to conduct the massive currents used to bend the magnets. Physicists were not able to reach an agreement however on another preventive measure that would have each magnet fitted with helium valves to reduce the impact of a specific failure in the system. Continue reading

Scientists Not So Sure ‘Doomsday Machine’ Won’t Destroy World


via FoxNews

“We conclude that … the growth of black holes to catastrophic size does not seem possible. Nonetheless, it remains true that the expected decay times are much longer (and possibly >> 1 second) than is typically predicted by other models,” the three state in a brief paper posted at the scientific discussion Web site ArXiv.org.

FoxNews.com can think of a few other things that didn’t seem possible once — the theory of continental drift, the fact that rocks fall from the sky, the notion that the Earth revolves around the sun, the idea that scientists could be horribly wrong.

We’re also wondering how often the LHC might create individual black holes, since longer-lived ones have a greater chance of merging with each other, and, um, well, see ya.

If the worst comes to pass, and there’s now a slightly greater chance that it might, at least it might explain why we’ve never heard from extraterrestrial civilizations: Maybe they built Large Hadron Colliders of their own.

Still worried that the Large Hadron Collider will create a black hole that will destroy the Earth when it’s finally switched on this summer?

Um, well, you may have a point.

Three physicists have reexamined the math surrounding the creation of microscopic black holes in the Switzerland-based LHC, the world’s largest particle collider, and determined that they won’t simply evaporate in a millisecond as had previously been predicted.

Rather, Roberto Casadio of the University of Bologna in Italy and Sergio Fabi and Benjamin Harms of the University of Alabama say mini black holes could exist for much longer — perhaps even more than a second, a relative eternity in particle colliders, where most objects decay much faster.

Under such long-lived conditions, it becomes a race between how fast a black hole can decay — and how fast it can gobble up matter to grow bigger and prevent itself from decaying. Continue reading

CERN Delays Atom-Smasher Over Magnet Fault

via Times Online

Plans for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to start smashing its first particles next week have been derailed after it developed a significant fault yesterday.

The problem with several of the £3.6 billion accelerator’s super-conducting magnets means it will be impossible to stage its first trial collisions next week, and further delays could follow once the damage has been fully assessed.

While a faulty transformer that had hindered progress for much of the past week has now been replaced, as first reported by The Times, the magnet failure is potentially more serious. It could even take several weeks to resolve, depending on the extent of the damage. Continue reading

Scientists Receive Death Threats Over ‘end-of-world’ Experiment

via UK Telegraph

The scientists behind the world’s biggest ever scientific experiment have received death threats from critics who claim it could cause the end of the world.

Experts are attempting to recreate the forces that occurred in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang, which created the universe.

The £4.4 billion machine at Cern, the European nuclear research organisation based near Geneva, will be switched on this Wednesday .

Some of the scientists working on the experiment, who include a Welsh miner’s son and a former pop star, have received threatening emails and been besieged by telephone calls from worried members of the public who fear the machine could cause earthquakes and tsunamis that will destroy the world. Continue reading

Countdown to World’s Largest Particle Accelerator Begins

via Telegraph

The first particles have been injected into the biggest atom smasher on the planet, marking the start of the countdown to probing the secrets of the universe.

Scientists are pushing ahead with powering up the machine, shrugging off speculative fears that it could destroy all life on Earth by sucking it into a black hole.

Starting up the biggest scientific experiment ever built is not as simple as flipping a switch.

Earlier this month, the successful injection of the first particles – protons – into part of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment at CERN, the European Centre for Nuclear Research, took place. Continue reading