September 24, 2008

Crush Me! CERN'S Large Hadron Collider Down Until 2009!

Dangit. I know I'm a big geek, but I was really, really pumped about the LHC breaking down reality and getting to the bottom of things. I was following the initial tests via Twitter, and having updates sent to my phone, for goodness' sake - my excitement even had the New York Times emailing me for a layman's nerds-eye view of this whole thing. Then, the Twitter updates stopped.

And now? According to this press release:

...a large helium leak into sector 3-4 of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) tunnel have indicated that the most likely cause of the incident was a faulty electrical connection between two of the accelerator’s magnets...“Coming immediately after the very successful start of LHC operation on 10 September, this is undoubtedly a psychological blow,” said CERN Director General Robert Aymar...The time necessary for the investigation and repairs precludes a restart before CERN’s obligatory winter maintenance period, bringing the date for restart of the accelerator complex to early spring 2009. LHC beams will then follow.

I haven't been this disappointed since Congress was debating yanking Voyager's funding and letting the little far-flung probe go totally silent.

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