Large Hadron Collider to shut down again - Macleans.ca

Large Hadron Collider to shut down again

The atom smasher will close to address design flaws

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Large Haldron Collider director Dr. Steve Myers has told the BBC the atom smasher, which will reach world record collision energies later this month at 7 trillion electron volts, will be shut down at the end of 2011 for up to one year to address design problems. Joints between the machine’s magnets must be strengthened before higher-energy collisions can go ahead, he said, even though the machine (which is based in Geneva) only recently restarted after being shut down for 14 months after an accident in 2008. The second problem involves copper sheaths around superconducting joints in the tunnel, he said; these are a failsafe mechanism designed to take up current if one of the magnets warms up. While engineers think the machine is safe to run at 7 trillion electron volts, they’ve decided to run the machine at half-maxiumum power for up to 24 months before switching it off to avoid another breakdown. The collision is an attempt to recreate the moments after the big bang, allowing researchers to explore the nature of the universe.

BBC News

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