Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Earliest LHC Restart Slated For Late Summer 2009

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the at-least-it's-cheap dept.

Science 229

gaijinsr writes "The damage done in what CERN calls the 'S34 Incident' (and what other people call a major explosion in the cryogenics system) is much more serious than originally admitted: The earliest possible restart date is late summer next year, but with some proposed improvements to avoid repetitions of the incident, it looks more like 2010. They kept this pretty quiet up to now, not the kind of information policy I would expect from CERN."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Yay! (5, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#25903897)

The universe is saved for a couple of more years! Now's the time to form our new national holiday "Beat the Hell out of the Atheist Murderous Universe-destroying Physicists Day".

Re:Yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904013)

porn:

http://mrfriendly.110mb.com/

Re:Yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904221)

thanks

Re:Yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904605)

Good find.

Re:Yay! (0, Offtopic)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904887)

Is this in the lesbian linux repository?

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25905031)

Is this in the lesbian linux repository?

It comes with the Ucuntu distro.

"Slated for Late Summer 2009" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904437)

Slated for Late Summer 2009 ... the LHC is in Europe so which summer is this? How about a month? It's like saying something will happen at 2pm without mentioning the timezone.

Re:"Slated for Late Summer 2009" (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904717)

"but with some proposed improvements to avoid repetitions of the incident, it looks more like 2010." RTFS. I personally shall beat up two physicists on that holiday (starting with my physics teacher if you could call him one).

Re:Yay! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904821)

I can't tell you who I am but I work for the CERN. The news here say that the first collision is due to happen on December 12nd, 2012. So you can feel safe for now.

Project cursed? (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905033)

It is almost as if this scientific project fell under an evil magical curse.

Fortune cookie - fitting (4, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25903911)

The current fortune cookie at the end of pages is somehow very fitting:

" The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan"

Re:Fortune cookie - fitting (1)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 5 years ago | (#25903969)

Mine says "Two cars in every pot and a chicken in every garage."

That's not what I had in mind for a thanks giving...

Re:Fortune cookie - fitting (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25903981)

Mine is "Two cars in every pot and a chicken in every garage."

I'm trying to relate this to the LHC, but I'm coming up empty here...

Re:Fortune cookie - fitting (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904023)

Well, you're too slow. Cookie has already changed.

Apparently, Slashdot is indifferent to slow posters like you :)

Re:Fortune cookie - fitting (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904033)

well since the lhc will destroy existence by creating a black whole perhaps he is inferring that the singularity inside a black hole will actually take us to another universe or dimension.

Re:Fortune cookie - fitting (3, Funny)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904045)

Ah, now I see. The black hole will be arranged such that there will be two cars in every pot. It's a method of expressing compression ratio without involving the Library of Congress.

Re:Fortune cookie - fitting (2, Informative)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904435)

I think it's probably more related to the THC

Re:Fortune cookie - fitting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904817)

they grow pot in the LHC? this is news!

Re:Fortune cookie - fitting (3, Insightful)

Strep (956749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904975)

We could go for THC related and have pot in every garage!

Re:Fortune cookie - fitting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25905525)

"The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent"

...in bed.

My prediction (4, Funny)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25903957)

I bet the first time it is actually used in a full power experiment will be December 21, 2012.

Re:My prediction (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904003)

if that's the case why not wait until Dec. 22

Re:My prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904335)

Need some time to warm up the anti-mass spectrometer.

Re:My prediction (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25905071)

Will that really help? Dec. 22 where the LHC is also happens to be Dec. 21 in south America where that date comes from.

Re:My prediction (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904637)

the Mayan calendar merely resets at that date. similar to how computers were expected to reset at y2k, it was not that they expected the world to end they just did not include dates after that much like our calendar does not include specifically year numbers for after 9999(unless you count adding a digit but in that case you would expect the current year to be specified as 02008). http://www.xkcd.com/509/ is somewhat relevant.

Re:My prediction (2, Interesting)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905509)

But if not for that date, then when else would we set our upcoming Impending Doom day? We need those for, you know, having the feeling of being at the ends of times and therefore on a sort of historical cutting edge, rather than in the middle of a long era during which our precise time isn't much more important than any other time in history.

Re:My prediction (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904793)

Maybe that's the day they find proof of the Higgs Boson and the world as we know it will change?

Re:My prediction (1)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904885)

Glad I'm putting the pool in now.....

Re:My prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25905007)

Sorry for being dense - why that date?

Re:My prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25905343)

Well, no, there isn't enough electricity to run the full system in the winter. As I understand it, there is too much extra draw from heating and lighting to have enough spare to go shoot protons about! 1 April 2013 is thus more likely!

Information policy (5, Insightful)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25903961)

They kept this pretty quiet up to now, not the kind of information policy I would expect from CERN.

Ummmm, perhaps scientists don't like to make statements that they aren't reasonably sure of? If there were still some disagreement or doubt about this timetable, I would fully expect them to keep it internal, and would be disappointed if they made a public statement prematurely. It's not like this timetable is exactly time critical today or anything...

Re:Information policy (0, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904005)

It's a point of international pride. The European Union now has something bigger than the United States. They want to be the new cultural center for science. Having their baby explode and fail to do anything for two years after its completion date, when it has cost far more than originally expected (and now needs still more money) is a political black eye. This setback means that the United States is still where it's at for particle physics for the next two years now.

Re:Information policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904057)

Flamebait much?

Re:Information policy (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904133)

Well yes, I know this. I am a particle physicist working on CDF after all. Although I'd disagree with your claim of international rivalry/jealousy. I just don't see it in the field. Maybe among the politicians or something, but not really among the scientists. (and it should be year and a half, tops, since 2008 is almost over already) But what on Earth did this post have to do with my post? What exactly are you replying to?

Re:Information policy (2, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904261)

The submitters original comment was about how this doesn't seem like CERNs typical "information policy". You put this down as your subject line and then stated that this release of information may have been delayed "perhaps scientists don't like to make statements that they aren't reasonably sure of?" -- My reply was merely to point out an alternative possible explanation, namely that the delay in the release of information may have been motivated by politics. The scientists working on the project likely don't have such motivations, but the people who are providing the funding for this project certainly do, as would those managing the project (and thus responsible for press releases). I'm sure I don't need to tell you of all people the role politics plays in funding of scientific research. -_-

Re:Information policy (1)

oliderid (710055) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904423)

American scientists are a major contribution to the LHC:

1200 physicists from 90 American universities and laboratories have joined with scientific colleagues from around the world to collaborate in LHC experiments at the horizon of discovery.

reference [openaccesscentral.com]

I feel like nationalist rivalry aren't part of this equation.

Second CERN is an independant institution. See their directors CERN press release [web.cern.ch] and tell me where is the politician responsible for this blackout.

Re:Information policy (2, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905313)

The United States made an attempt at building something similar to the LHC several years ago but funding was cut. It was viewed at the time as a major setback in science and would lead to a brain drain in the United States as scientists went overseas where they could be with better equipment. Funding for the LHC was nearly cut several times amid cries that funding should be focused on "more important" science such as global warming. Part of the reason it got built was precisely because it could show that the EU succeeded where the US failed -- and there's been plenty of rivalry there. Arguably, the reason the EU was brought into existence was to compete with the US. There's a lot of pride tied into making this thing work.

There was a huge political debacle about where the LHC should be built that prevented its construction for several years. So while you can point and say "see? Look at all the cooperation!" the truth is that cooperation took a lot of time and a lot of negotiation. It didn't just happen because scientists are agreeable, friendly sorts that are great with people. And nationalism did, and continues to play a role in the LHCs funding and operational details. That's the nature of international politics -- everybody wants something in return, because there's only one Higgs-boson but there's several hundred positions at the LHC and only a few of them will be paraded through the streets when it's finally found while the rest will toil in obscurity. If you think the nationality of those people isn't important, you're in a dream world. The nationalities of those involved have been very carefully selected.

Bottom line is that they are under a lot of pressure to perform and while it's easy for you and I to understand (as engineers) that these are normal problems... How does it look for the politicians in the middle of a global recession to be looking for "god particles"? Not very and if you were running the show you'd be damn stupid not to be out there glad-handing the purse-holders and assuring them everything is fine. Politics is the reason the LHC could be built in the first place, politics is infused in every major organization -- even scientific ones.

So try and be less idealistic and more realistic. Now, again -- I'm not saying this is why the press release was delayed. I'm just saying it's as plausible a theory as the rest.

Re:Information policy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904151)

and US hegemony will continue for the predictable future. Why? We are capitalists. (1) The EU is a cesspool of socialism that has failed for the 30+ years it's been attempted.

(1) assuming His Holiness the Obama doesn't drag America down into the same mire the EU has embraced with such abandon.

Re:Information policy (1)

neuromanc3r (1119631) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904253)

They want to be the new cultural center for science.

You do realise that CERN has been a "cultural center for science" (whatever that means) long before the LHC?

Re:Information policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25905259)

It's a point of international pride. The European Union now has something bigger than the United States.

Well, "international" is a good keyword here. The US is one of the largest contributing countries to the LHC, including a bunch of the magnets (http://www.uslhc.us/). So this is not really so much a EU vs US thing. But I guess for some people this is difficult to understand...

CERN is also not an EU organization, btw. The country where most of CERN is located (Switzerland) is not part of the EU, so is Norway. CERN was founded before the EU, and most countries who are now both EU and CERN members joined CERN before (and independently of) joining the EU, and 9 EU countries are not members of CERN. Countries with observer status in the CERN organization are Indie, Russia, Israel, Japan, Turkey and the US, all not EU members.

Re:Information policy (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904051)

This is a work funded by taxpaid dollars, so it should be kept open and transparent. The author of the article is right in this premise.

But I disagree strongly with her perception of the situation. CERN's earlier statements have only been that they did not know how long repairs would take, but that the earliest LHC could possibly restart would be late spring 2009. This is the first time to my knowledge that they have given an estimate of when they actually expect the accelerator to be ready. There was nothing hidden or hushed up about this.

Re:Information policy (1)

knappe duivel (914316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904243)

This is a work funded by taxpaid euros

There, fixed it for you

Re:Information policy (2, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904523)

This is a work funded by taxpaid euros. There, fixed it for you

Francs. The currency of Switzerland is the Franc. Not in the Eurozone, not in the EU, not in much at all actually.

Though, some of the LHC's funding does come from some Eurozone countries. (and part of the LHC is in France too)

Re:Information policy (2, Interesting)

neuromanc3r (1119631) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904845)

If we all are happily nit-picking, I think you should have a look at the Cern member states [wikipedia.org] . While you are right, major parts of Cern are located in Switzerland, the majority of taxpaid $currency used for its funding is definitely Euro, not Franc (and saying that "some of the LHC's funding does come from the Eurozone countries" is a ridiculous understatement...)

Re:Information policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25905303)

Though, some of the LHC's funding does come from some Eurozone countries.

Well, the German Wikipedia page on CERN has a breakdown of the budget for 2008:

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/CERN#Finanzierung_.28Budget_2008.29 [wikipedia.org]

According to that, 3.03% of the 2008 budget comes from Switzerland, while almost 68% comes from Eurozone countries. So it's a bit more than "some". CERN uses Swiss Francs for their budget, though... But most of the tax money involved was originally paid in Euro, for sure... :)

And of course, strictly speaking, the CERN budget and LHC funding are not the same. Also the US contributed several 100 Mio Dollars to LHC, which is not part of the annual CERN budget. But I don't think the relation between Swiss and Eurozone contribution will be that much different.

Re:Information policy (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904305)

Maybe they had to take some big pieces of machinery apart before making a definitive statement. That takes time.

Even worse than a late statement would be making a statement then changing it a couple of weeks later.

Re:Information policy (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904547)

I agree w/you that taxpayers need and like black and white numbers, but this is pure investigation, and it is not always possible to have a fixed date for though problem solving... repairing this machine is not like change a car fuel pump; maybe (BTW I'm guessing) the reparations do involve some additional math/physic corrections, and so the yet undetermined lapses.

Of course this can not be like a deadline for solving the P/NP problem, but for sure the time estimations have a high margin of variability.

Re:Information policy (1)

gaijinsr (685623) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904317)

Ummmm, perhaps scientists don't like to make statements that they aren't reasonably sure of?

I was not talking about official statements that give a definite starting day, but about the way that the actual extent of the damage was communicated. I am actually part of the theoretical High Energy physics community and even I only received this information yesterday through word-of-mouth and the link to the slides. Some senior colleagues in our institute yesterday called this "Soviet Russian information policy" ...

Re:Information policy (5, Informative)

rev_karol (735616) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904367)

Well I can tell you that the rest of us at CERN were kept quite in the dark by the management too. There are pictures of the cryo incident which they won't allow to be released.

The LHC is its own prototype. Similar beam related incidents happened at Fermilab. It's shit but it happens, and they handled it dreadfully.

Some big numbers were thrown out there about how much the accident will cost, but in real terms it comes our as a very small fraction compared to overall LHC costs.

Everyone at CERN is very disappointed about it, naturally, but it's up to us now to better prepare ourselves for the new startup.

Re:Information policy (1)

gaijinsr (685623) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904545)

The LHC is its own prototype. Similar beam related incidents happened at Fermilab. It's shit but it happens, and they handled it dreadfully.

Thank you, that was exactly the point that I wanted to make. This weekend, Rolf Heuer still gave summer 2009 as the restarting date, I do not understand why they aren't more open about the damage that was caused by the incident.

Won't Ever Work (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25903995)

I was on the team. The design is flawed in ways you cannot imagine - and more dangerous then anyone realizes.

Re:Won't Ever Work (1)

Apostata (390629) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904383)

Gordon Freeman, ladies and gentlemen. Put your hands together.

Re:Won't Ever Work (2, Funny)

bitrex (859228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904617)

God's design team tried to tell him the same thing after he insisted on creating man, and that worked out OK, didn't it?

Re:Won't Ever Work (1)

courseofhumanevents (1168415) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904779)

Not really.

bloody self-centered Amercians (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904021)

Late summer next year?

Well, since I'm australian, that puts the date in February 2009. That's not far off.

Oh, you arrogant, pig-headed Americans meant your summer? pfft...talk about self-centered

Re:bloody self-centered Amercians (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904061)

No, the swiss meant their summer you dipshit.

bloody stereotyping Australians (0, Flamebait)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904319)

You heard me. Yes, it's ironic. Yes, that's the point. You dumbass.

What do you expect? (4, Interesting)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904041)

The LHC has been longer in development than the WWW exists (there are screenshots around from the "first website ever" that had design drawings of the atlas detector on it.

It has happened. They got to fix it, piece by piece. Do you really need a "what cf flanges we replaced today" blog?

Re:What do you expect? (4, Informative)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904459)

Karma whoring linky here [madsci.org] .

Re:What do you expect? (4, Interesting)

bckrispi (725257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905251)

Not only that, but the WWW was invented for the purpose of supporting the work being done on the LHC. [w3.org]

Many of the discussions of the future at CERN and the LHC era end with the question - "Yes, but how will we ever keep track of such a large project?" This proposal provides an answer to such questions. Firstly, it discusses the problem of information access at CERN. Then, it introduces the idea of linked information systems, and compares them with less flexible ways of finding information.

It then summarises my short experience with non-linear text systems known as hypertext, describes what CERN needs from such a system, and what industry may provide. Finally, it suggests steps we should take to involve ourselves with hypertext now, so that individually and collectively we may understand what we are creating.

This being said, I'd say that the LHC has already paid for itself a thousand times over.

Re:What do you expect? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905523)

The WWW was just hypertext on the internet, and not really a new idea at the time. Ted Nelson invented the "hypertext" concept in 1963, and hypertext became commercially available in 1987. Just how long *has* the LHC been in development?

Re:What do you expect? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905619)

The WWW was just hypertext on the internet

With flexible markup and layout, and extensible content type handling. Compare w/ gopher.

Maybe that +Internet were the essentials.

With the data... (4, Interesting)

FrameRotBlues (1082971) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904079)

They've got a lot of data to figure out what probably happened. But, FTFA:

Most likely cause : an electric arc due to rupture of the interconnection. Unfortunately this is difficult to prove, since the whole dipole interconnect was 'vaporised' during the event!

Black Hole! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904525)

They are being quiet about the damage because it was caused by a miniture BLACK HOLE created by the LHC itself!

Terence McKenna was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904177)

'Events' will keep LHC on hold until the Mayan Calendar rolls over...

Cut 'em some slack (5, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904185)

Keep in mind all information coming out of there has to escape the black hole's pull.

Which Summer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904263)

It's almost summer 2009 where I am.

Some Further Info (5, Informative)

ruuskado (1418027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904279)

I once worked at on the LHC at CERN and still have some contacts there and in a couple of conversations have come across some rather interesting bits of information. The fault has been isolated to a single connector, however the analysis was rather difficult as a large amount of the suspect conductor was vaporized by the current surge. The wires are supposed to carry 8,700-Amps!!! at full power, the intrinsic resistance in this particular bad joint caused some localized heating which then caused a portion of the conductor to no longer be superconducting. all of the current then passed through a sudden, unexpected load and voile, lots of heat, boiling helium and a chain reaction of nastiness. Looks like the pressure discs ruptured as expected, but they were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of boiling Helium, 6-Tons!, and the vacuum vessel buckled and ruptured causing other magnets to quench. the sheer force of the expansions knocked more than 20 of these steering magnets off of their supports. Slightly more problematic then first reports indeed. There was always an expectation of shutting down the beam for the Winter as the cost of electricity for the experiment is a major operational consideration and rises prohibitively for the experiment during peak heating season. Hope that they can fix their problems and catch any other flaws before they attempt to ramp up again. Here's to the exploration of fundamental principles.

Re:Some Further Info (1)

calags (12705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904363)

I don't think it takes a lot of heat to get helium to boil. Aren't chain reactions the province of the other end of the periodic table?

Re:Some Further Info (1)

bitrex (859228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904683)

I'd like to use this as a bedtime story for people going to have an MRI the next day.

It didn't explode, (2, Funny)

KiwiCanuck (1075767) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904301)

it just heated up too fast and expanded too quickly. ~:-)

Re:It didn't explode, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904875)

That's what she... aw, never mind

The beam is like small bomb. (3, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904325)

The beam would make a good weapon (if the LHC a bad weapons system).

The beam was 200 MJoules, the equivalent of 48 kilo's of TNT. That's a pretty good bomb if it should hit you.

(Note that there are 2 beams; it is not clear to me if that is the energy per beam on in total.)

Re:The beam is like small bomb. (1, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905429)

Short range though - the atmosphere will quench the beam within a few hundred meters, tops.

Re:The beam is like small bomb. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25905597)

Who the fuck modded up this barely-coherent drivel?

Re:The beam is like small bomb. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25905625)

All they need now are sharks.

Race up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904333)

Duke Nukem Forever vs LHC

Re:Race up (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905291)

I bet it gets released right when the world ends.

Bizarrely placed trust in governments (1, Troll)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904339)

They kept this pretty quiet up to now, not the kind of information policy I would expect from CERN.

Your faith in the openness and transparency of government boondoggles is touching.

Re:Bizarrely placed trust in governments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904399)

Your cynical distrust of government and the civil service is saddening.

Summer Blockbusters (3, Funny)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904413)

The repairs will actually be done a little sooner, but they pushed back the release date so they wouldn't have to fight with Star Trek [startrekmovie.com] , Transformers [imdb.com] , or Harry friggin Potter [imdb.com] . Just be lucky Iron Man [imdb.com] is waiting until 2010 or we'd never get any sciencing or universe imploding done.

helium escape (1)

planckscale (579258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904421)

I wonder what the event would have looked like in the tunnel when that helium escaped. I'm sure things got pretty frosty in that section of the tunnel. Does anyone have photos of the damage?

Some notes (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904461)

The initial cause of the incident was probably a bad weld in a busbar joint. But they'll never know; the entire busbar was vaporized when it lost superconductivity under load.

The quench protection system wasn't designed to properly handle a failure of the superconducting busbar between two magnets. There's an elaborate system to dump the energy from a magnet that's starting to lose superconductivity into a big resistor bank. They expected occasional problems within the magnet windings, but this failure wasn't in a winding. The quench system is being redesigned.

The cryogenic system needs many more pressure relief valves. In this event, 6 tons of liquid helium was vaporized, which is 30,000 cubic meters at 1 atmosphere. That much helium couldn't get out of the existing relief valves fast enough, sizable parts of the plumbing were damaged, and magnets were pushed off their mounts. Now that was just bad pressure-vessel design. They should have had enough relief valves or rupture discs for the worst-case scenario. That would have localized the problem. Given the huge amount of energy in the magnets, in close proximity to liquid helium, in an experimental machine, this could not be a totally unexpected possibility.

More relief valves are going in, which means the whole ring has to be brought up to room temperature and atmospheric pressure for plumbing work. Then the whole commissioning process has to be repeated, which takes months.

The tunnels are empty of people when power is on, because if all that helium vents, the air is unbreathable. But this event was big enough that it could have affected people in experiment halls at tunnel level. If this had happened during actual use, people could have been killed.

A magnet quench isn't supposed to be a big deal. Early design specs said that restarting after a magnet quench should only take a few hours. Oops.

seasons (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904467)

So sick of stories or descriptions that describe something happening during a particular season - like Summer. Think of people in the other hemisphere please!

Anthropic principle (-1, Troll)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904529)

Has anyone besides me realized that this means that the LHC does have the potential to destroy the Earth? In many universes, the SSC [wikipedia.org] was completed and started, resulting in the destruction of the Earth and killing all observers. For most of the surviving parallel worlds, the LHC was recently turned on and Earth was destroyed. Only those universes where a failure occurred still survive, but since only those universes contain observers, i.e. us, no one has yet realized the danger. Most of these parallel Earths will be destroyed when the LHC is restarted in 2010, again leaving the surviving observers in a universe where another unlikely failure has happened. I wonder how many failures will have to occur before the physicists realize that the many-worlds interpretation [wikipedia.org] is correct, and that the LHC needs to be abandoned?

Doomsday (1)

kevind23 (1296253) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904597)

They need to postpone it to 2012. That way we can double up on our doomsday.

Some random points (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25904639)

I work on one of the LHC experiments, so I'm posting anonymously.

1) CERN's communication has been lacking. Especially in deleting reports immediately after the incident on their eLog that had been open. That was a black eye on their image.

2) Plans change as more information comes in, so no one should be surprised by initial statements saying "The earliest possible date is several months" (which would be the case if no magnets needed replacing) followed by Spring '09 if everything goes well. This is now followed by Summer '09 to just repair the problems and late '09/ early '10 if remedial actions are taken.

3) CERN is changing directors in a month or so. The new director will make the decision of cautious startup vs. remediation and more aggressive startup. My expectation is the latter.

The world can wait an extra year for these results. I feel bad for the students and post-docs who are waiting for the data to emerge, though.

Some More Random Points (3, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905353)

I work on the LHC experiments as well, so I'm posting anonymously, too.

1) The failure of the flux capacitor was actually the real cause of the shutdown (although this will never be released due to the humiliation that would be heaped upon them for such a simple mistake - see below).

2) Apparently no one told them that when you accelerated it beyond 88 mph (within the limit of their test runs) it would create a hole in time/space through which a moderately-priced novelty sports car (or something of equivalent mass) could travel.

3) They are currently searching 1985, 1955, and 1885 for the components that they lost as a result of the failure. They also plan to search 2015. Eventually.

4) They are currently in contract negotiations with Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and various other experts in the field. They expect that once the contracts are finalized the solution will be achieved between 108 and 118 minutes.

Re:Some More Random Points (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905617)

Somehow I don't see the LHC fitting into a Deorean, and the car being drivable afterwards.

Re:Some More Random Points (1)

Warll (1211492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905627)

"by Arthur Grumbine (1086397): I work on the LHC experiments as well, so I'm posting anonymously, too."

Lol...

Posting anon because I just made an off topic post.

Whatever. (5, Funny)

IWood (1380317) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904869)

I've got my crowbar. Bring it on.

gaijinsr -- Your an idiot (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904897)

This fits exactly with all released information about the incident.

What, did you just look at 50+ pages and say "aHA it worse!"
Moron.

They will do a limited firing in 2009, possibly with no beam.
This makes sense becasue that can't run during the winter.
Well they could, but Geneva wouldn't be habitable!

2012 (1)

lilfields (961485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25904987)

I'm waiting for it to be delayed until 2012 and for people to flip out in a way not seen since "The Great Disappointment." We have a few years for people to build their bunkers before CERN starts back up. In all seriousness though, I can't wait for it to be turned back on, every day it's delayed is just delaying possible breakthroughs in science.

What do you expect? (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905059)

the Mayan calendar merely resets at that date. similar to how computers were expected to reset at y2k, it was not that they expected the world to end they just did not include dates after that much like our calendar does not include specifically year numbers for after 9999(unless you count adding a digit but in that case you would expect the current year to be specified as 02008). http://www.xkcd.com/509/ [xkcd.com] is somewhat relevant.

We will never see it work (4, Funny)

magi (91730) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905063)

LHC is obviously a doomsday machine. Turning it on will immediately destroy humankind in all the parallel universes where it works. Therefore, in the universes where we stay alive, we will always see it fail. The failure proves the parallel structure of the universe.

Use the date, not the season (2, Insightful)

Mag7 (69118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905153)

While most of the world's population lives in the northern hemisphere admittedly, can we please reduce the ambiguity by referring to an approximate date (e.g. August 2009) instead of the season?

Re:Use the date, not the season (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905557)

I would think that most of the people reading this are aware that the LHC is located in the Northern hemisphere.

I'll spill the beans (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905219)

"S34 Incident" stands for either "Black Mesa Incident" or "Judgement Day. Pick one.

There was no error in information (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905237)

To repair the problem and get operational as soon as possible was the answer to the first time given. The longer time frame is to modify the design to prevent this failure from happening again. If they went the first option, if this ever happened again, it would again be months to repair it (and the failure could kill people). The longer time frame will change a design consideration so that if this happens again, they could possibly be back operational within hours at no risk to people.

I would guess that as they gathered more information and discussed the options, they leaned more towards the second option, but the time frame for the first was already released. It isn't that they are modifying what broke and what it would take to fix it, but that they changed their minds about fixing only vs fix plus prevention.

No ! NO !! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25905441)

i was all ready for the interdimensional warp that would teleport the world !!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?