After a two year pause, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider restart was delayed due to a short-circuit which occurred on Saturday March 21 in one of the Collider’s magnet circuits.
Officials announced that it might take weeks in order to complete reparations.
CERN’s General Director Rolf Heuer explained that they are on the right track and that postponing the restart of this large “particle smashing machine”, which a few years ago discovered the Higgs boson, won’t make such a great difference in “humankind’s quest to understand our universe”.
There is a reason behind these lengthy reparations. The short-circuit occurred in a cold section of the machine so before the LHC’s reboot, the machine needs to be warmed up and then engineers need to gradually decrease the temperatures until levels close to absolute zero.
As CERN’s Director for Accelerators, Frédérick Bordry, explained: “any cryogenic machine is a time amplifier.” This means that reparations that would normally require a few hours in a warm environment can take up to weeks when it implies the LHC.
CERN’s engineers are convinced that there is no need to rush the repairing process. Once it restarts it is expected the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will function at double the energy. Scientist already have some projects planned, studies on the subject of dark matter, the Higgs Boson, a possible extra dimension and other mysteries of the Universe.
The LHC is the largest and most powerful particle collider in the world. It consists of a 27-kilometer underground tube divided into 8 sectors. In this ring-shaped tunnel, two proton beams are sent one towards the other. Powerful magnets are used to manipulate the beams’ trajectory so that they collide in a predetermined area.
After collision, sub-atomic rubble is generated, elements that might shed some light on the existence of new particles like the famous Higgs boson discovered in 2012.
The Higgs boson is known as “the particle that makes up all matter” and is in conformity with the Standard Model according to which particles acquire mass when “passing through a field that slows down their movement through the vacuum of space”.
Once ready for start-up the LHC is planned to function for another 3 years, from 2016 to 2018 and will be used to hopefully shed some light on the “fundamental building blocks of all matter” and the forces involved.
Image Source: How It Works