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Hadron Collider Down For Two Months

Hadron Collider Down For Two Months

The world didn’t end when the Large Hadron Collider – that underground tube beneath France and Switzerland – fired up. But now it’s had to shut down again, for at least two months.

On Friday it experienced what’s called a quench, which caused some of the super-cooled magnets in the Collider, to heat up by 100 degrees Centigrade, and liquid helium leaked into the system. Fire brigades were called to Cern, near Geneva, the BBC has reported.

The damage has proved to be worse than first thought, meaning that a whole section will have to be warmed up from its operating temperature, which is near absolute zero, to allow for repairs, then cooled again.

According to Cern spokesman James Gillies:

"A full investigation is still under way but the most likely cause seems to be a faulty electrical connection between two of the magnets which probably melted, leading to a mechanical failure.

"We’re investigating and we can’t really say more than that now.

"But we do know that we will have to warm the machine up, make the repair, cool it down, and that’s what brings you to two months of downtime for the LHC."

This problem followed right on the heels of repairs on a faulty transformer.

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