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Bad Math Causes Explosion at CERN Collider

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the allright-which-of-you-got-the-A dept.

Science 270

javipas writes "The Large Hadron Collider at the CERN has suffered a big explosion deep inside that has caused a leak of hellium gas and the quick evacuation of everyone working there. The reason: a mathematical mistake that affected the design of the giant superconductive magnets made by Fermilab. Now the company will have to repair and upgrade the 24 magnets that are installed on the 27 km. circunference of one of the most important research centers on Earth." This story might seem strangely familiar to you.

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Forgetting... (5, Funny)

mulvane (692631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661909)

To carry the 1 can cost lives! I never believed it in elementary school when my teacher that math could affect my life, but damn, the stuff can kill you!!!! Treat math with respect!

Re:Forgetting... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662347)

So THAT'S what happens when you divide by zero!

Re:Forgetting... (1, Funny)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662515)

Ooh, so thats when you use lim(x->0).

Re:Forgetting... (5, Funny)

tuba_ranger (848915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662379)

Isn't this the plot behind Half-Life?

Re:Forgetting... (4, Funny)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662537)

Yeah, those guys need to be sure to have a crowbar handy at all times when working on the system. Those damn headcrabs can get the tiniest spaces...

Re:Forgetting... (1)

anilg (961244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662533)

Well in his defense, he carried the one, only into the helium in TF summary.

What the HELL is HELLium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662765)

Helium?

Mikey

Re:Forgetting... (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662939)

Treat math with respect!

W0rd, man.

DUPE (-1, Offtopic)

leerpm (570963) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661915)

Not a Dupe (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18661981)

Isn't this the same story as from a week or two ago?
While it may have the same message to you (Big Ass Magnet Fails on Fermilab's Collider at CERN), it's actually the result of an investigation.

From one of the articles in your link:

Fermilab will appoint an external review committee to analyze how this problem occurred and determine root causes and lessons learned.
The old story was that stuff blew up. The new story is why it blew up so we don't make the same mistakes. Turns out it, was just bad math. It wasn't that we didn't understand some physics, it wasn't the gods being mad, it was just plan old avoidable bad math.

A somber and depressing article for the /. community considering how many people have been posting about the huge leaps in physics this machine was supposed to bring us ... hopefully another country will come up with something similar to keep this research rolling while CERN awaits repairs.

Re:Not a Dupe (2, Funny)

fontkick (788075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662209)

It wasn't that we didn't understand some physics, it wasn't the gods being mad, it was just plan old avoidable bad math.

In theory, all mistakes are avoidable. The problem is avoiding them.,

Super Conducting Super Collider (2, Informative)

kad77 (805601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662253)

Thanks to democrats (neo-luddites?), the US doesn't already have this technology. Know your (recent) history.

http://www.rootsweb.com/~txecm/super_collider.htm [rootsweb.com]

http://motls.blogspot.com/2006/03/ssc-and-clinton- administration.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Super Conducting Super Collider (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662365)

Calling the democrats neoluddites while the republicans are still around?

Sorry, you are in the wrong place, parallel universe is the next thread down.

Re:Super Conducting Super Collider (1, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662723)

Mr. Tubes is a Republican. You can't get much worse than him.

Re:DUPE (5, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662561)

Well, a week ago the accident propelled the collider into the future, and that's why it's being reported today. Sheesh, do we have to explain **everything ** to ya?

Obligatory... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18661931)

I for one, welcome our new accidental parallel universe overlords...

Re:Obligatory... (4, Funny)

Eudial (590661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661959)

I for one, welcome our new accidental parallel universe overlords...


Don't you mean

I for one, welcome our new accidental parallel universe overlords...
I for one, welcome our new accidental parallel universe overlords...
I for one, welcome our new accidental parallel universe overlords...
I for one, welcome our new accidental parallel universe overlords...
I for one, welcome our new accidental parallel universe overlords...
I for one, welcome our new accidental parallel universe overlords...

Re:Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662223)

I for one, welcome our new accidental parallel universe overlords...

The good news is, maybe there exists a parallel universe in which someone didn't mess up the magnets. So now all we have to do instead of fixing the magnets is figure out how to open a portal to that universe, and in a year ask THEM if they've seen the Higgs boson.

Frist st0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18661951)

Fo8 the state of of OpenBSD. How

Zoiks! (0, Redundant)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661953)

Forgot to carry the one. Sorry.

Almost success! (5, Funny)

AaxelB (1034884) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661961)

The machine, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), aims to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang, when the universe is thought to have exploded into existence about 14 billion years ago.

"There was a hell of a bang, the tunnel housing the machine filled with helium and dust and we had to call in the fire brigade to evacuate the place"

Eh, sounds partially successful.

Re:Almost success! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662353)

"There was a hell of a bang, the tunnel housing the machine filled with helium and dust and we had to call in the fire brigade to evacuate the place"


Fire brigade phone operator at first taught it was another prank call by those damned kids again!

BTW, Don't ever mix Nitrogen Suboxide with Helium, especially on parties... ("squirrel laugh" frenzy ... sound of dropping dead choking).

Re:Almost success! (4, Funny)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662473)

hello operator?
click!
Operator, this is not a ...
click!
bob - Bill have you called the police?
bill - Of course bob, they hanging up.
bob - What? Call again.
bill - Damnit bob I sound like a chipmunk, you call this time.

It says so right in the story: (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18661963)

The machine, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), aims to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang, when the universe is thought to have exploded into existence about 14 billion years ago. However, the November start-up may now have to be delayed until next spring.

Yay! Recreate the Big Bang. I guess you need another Big Bang to counter-act the other then? .2 x Yay! Creating two new twin universes within the crust of earth. I hope these scientists know what theyre doing. I hope they are not silly enough to create the conditions for the purple hole in the same process. Then were REALLY in trouble next spring!!

Proton? (-1, Offtopic)

virgil_disgr4ce (909068) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661967)

The accelerator is designed to smash together protons, a kind of sub-atomic particle, at near light speed.

"Pro-ton? Now whut on earth is a pro-ton? Some kinda sub-atomic particle? Gaw-damn, what are we doin' paying those hare-brained scientists to look at pro-tons for?"

I hate to think of how this kind of a mix up just convinces certain people even more of their anti-science prejudices. :(

Re:Proton? (4, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662067)

Gaw-damn, what are we doin' paying those hare-brained scientists to look at pro-tons for?


Just think how much money they'd be saving if they were looking at amateur-tons.

(With my apologies to Piers Anthony)

Re:Proton? (1)

Dara Hazeghi (1076823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662069)

Sounds like you have your own prejudices and to worry about.

Re:Proton? (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662317)

I hate to think of how this kind of a mix up just convinces certain people even more of their anti-science prejudices.

People with "anti-science" prejudices, are generally not the type that will appreciate a replication of the big-bang. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton [wikipedia.org] more importantly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_Boson [wikipedia.org] the Higgs boson particle is being sought in order to prove large portions of string theory.

Re:Proton? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662791)

> the Higgs boson particle is being sought in order to prove large portions of string theory.

Actually, it is parts of the standard model that it is proving. String theory would probably just be tweaked a little if something unexpected happened with the Higgs boson and the standard model.

oblig (-1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661969)

I must've put a decimal point in the wrong place or something. Shit, I always do that. I always mess up some mundane detail.
i told you, what did i tell you? i told you, if you fuck around with the big bang, what'choo gonna get? that's right, a big bang.

Re:oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662289)

I must've put a decimal point in the wrong place or something. Shit, I always do that. I always mess up some mundane detail.
Lol, nice Office Space quotation.

NPR Story missed this one (4, Interesting)

your_mother_sews_soc (528221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661979)

Talk about missed opportunities. I just listened to an NPR story at around 8:20 eastern time (US) about particle physics and the super collider. They mentioned how a particle zooming around in it would have the force of a bus, and colliding two particles would be an enormous crash. They talked about how particle physics has stagnated for the past few decades, about how the collider was built, and oddly enough, about what a breach of the coil would do. But no mention of an "accident." Hmmm. I guess I need to mail my pledge check.

Re:NPR Story missed this one (5, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662091)

They mentioned how a particle zooming around in it would have the force of a bus

Not really. The most powerful cosmic ray particles ever observed, which have are millions of times more energy than anything we can create, each have approximately the force of a thrown baseball. Perhaps *all* of the particles in the ring together have the energy of a moving bus.

Re:NPR Story missed this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662171)

I also listened to that story. It seems to me that the whole "bus" analogy breaks down when you realize that they are slamming two busses head on and looking at the peices left by the collision to try and figure out how the busses are assembled.

The real reason... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18661985)

Fermilab outsourced magnet design to Sony

Re:The real reason... (1)

brunos (629303) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662097)

you might be onto something: the fermilab statement says: "Fermilab also assembled into cryostats and shipped to CERN 18 similar KEK-designed magnets that were built in industry in Japan and cold-tested at KEK"

Re:The real reason... (1, Troll)

DBCubix (1027232) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662959)

It was the Vista DRM... 'A large explosion is about to happen, Cancel, Allow?'

The Great Mistake of '08 was no accident (4, Funny)

TheHornedOne (50252) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661991)

Haven't these guys read their Dan Simmons?

Re:The Great Mistake of '08 was no accident (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662905)

Just finished rereading all four.... it's the "Big Mistake of '08", not the "Great Mistake".

Well, there's your problem! (3, Funny)

Mike Hicks (244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18661999)

What do you expect when using hellium?

It's Sabotage! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662003)

Coincidentally, Fermilab stands to gain most from delays at Cern. Its researchers also operate a rival but less powerful particle accelerator, the Tevatron. Fermilab staff are pushing the Tevatron to ever-higher energies hoping that they might find the Higgs boson before the LHC switches on. An LHC researcher said: "Ironically, this delay could be all they need."
Gasp! Sabotage! A divide by zero here, a drop of the carry there...who would notice!? :)

Helium leak? (3, Funny)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662009)

What's so bad about that? Are they just afraid no one will take them seriously if they sound like the chipmunks when they report their findings? I mean, it's not like it's spraying O2 in the direction of the pilot light of their oven.

Re:Helium leak? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662101)

In case you're just ignorant, rather than trying to be funny; suffocation.

Re:Helium leak? (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662153)

The large volume of helium, which is at about 4K IIRC. Can freeze parts of your body, and asphyxiate you. The whole things is deep underground in an "enclosed" space.

suffocation (5, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662185)

What's so bad about that?

What's bad is that it displaces all the oxygen in the area. This was a common cause of occupational deaths in MRI rooms- not flying metal objects attracted to the magnet (though a very small number of people have been killed by oxygen tanks and such.) An MRI repair tech was killed because of a slow helium leak that lowered the oxygen percentage enough that he passed out. That's why most if not all MRI facilities have gas monitors that monitor oxygen, nitrogen, and helium levels (liquid nitrogen is also used.)

MRI machines have vents for this sort of thing. Also because if the magnet quenches, a LARGE amount of liquid helium will boil off; all the electrical energy used to generate the field, which is constantly running in the magnet, turns very quickly into thermal energy. If the vent wasn't there, the room would pressurize, preventing one from opening doors (even an outward opening door- enough force would make it impossible to overcome friction on the bolt.) Magnet quenches are done only in situations where someone's life is in immediate danger (say, they're trapped by a ferrous object and about to bleed out) because of the danger (and the fact that there's a 1:4 chance of destroying the multi-million-dollar magnet and boiling off thousands of gallons of very expensive liquid hydrogen.)

It's been reported in vent failures when a magnet quenched that it rained oxygen; liquid helium is substantially colder than liquid oxygen. Shit happens: vent valves fail, birds nest in stuff, someone says "hey, what's that big empty pipe for" 6 rooms over and cuts it/blocks it off, etc. I think the MRI tech was killed because of a leaking o-ring.

Are they just afraid no one will take them seriously if they sound like the chipmunks when they report their findings?

Picture one guy yelling "Run, run! We'll all suffocate!" in a chipmunk voice, and everyone else laughing at how funny he sounds, and passing out. And dying.

I mean, it's not like it's spraying O2 in the direction of the pilot light of their oven.

Oxygen spraying in the direction of a pilot light in an oven will do nothing except make the pilot light burn at a higher temperature. It will not cause an explosion, because there's nothing else combustible in the oven, unless it's REALLY greasy.

What is not a joking matter is smoking in high-oxygen environments or fires in spacecraft, because they do have lots of flammable stuff, like wire insulation (which is fire-resistant, not necessarily fire-proof.)

Re:suffocation (2, Interesting)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662337)

LOX saturating some organic materials can create an explosive. Asphalt is one such material, although you need some percussion to get it going. Just lighting it up won't make it go bang. I wonder if you had some LOX and a 55 gallon drum of leftover pizza grease, and hit it with a blasting cap, could you make it go bang?

Homeland Security is looking at regulating pizza drivers now.

Re:suffocation (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662461)

Dammit. I knew I shouldn't have put that oxygen condenser on my delivery van.

Reminds me of George Goble (1)

HaveNoMouth (556104) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662511)

Some of us who were born before the Internet remember that about 10 years ago a guy named George Goble [wikipedia.org] posted a video [msdn.com] of himself pouring LOX on lit charcoal. He claimed that a pre-saturated charcoal briquette had the equivalent explosive power of a stick of dynamite.

That was our YouTube. And we liked it.

Re:suffocation (1)

HaveNoMouth (556104) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662557)

and the fact that there's a 1:4 chance of destroying the multi-million-dollar magnet and boiling off thousands of gallons of very expensive liquid hydrogen
I'm sure you meant helium.

Re:suffocation (2, Informative)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662615)

What is not a joking matter is smoking in high-oxygen environments or fires in spacecraft, because they do have lots of flammable stuff, like wire insulation (which is fire-resistant, not necessarily fire-proof.)

That sounds very familiar. [wikipedia.org]

Re:suffocation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662763)

I believe that other things are put into party helium so that the common man doesnt die when enhaling helium from balloons. Enhaling pure helium would kill you.

OOPS! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662019)

This story has been brought to you by erasers. Don't make a mistake without one.

on the upside (0, Redundant)

stwf (108002) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662053)

due to the helium leak everyone in the vicinity of the lab will be talking in very humorous high pitched voices for at least a week!

Question. (1)

pionzypher (886253) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662055)

Did the poster mean helium gas? Or Hellium [indianscie...rument.com] ? Figured it was a typo at first.

John Titor delayed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662059)

As a result of the explosion, the creation of microsingularities for time-travel has been delayed.

Re:John Titor delayed (1)

Bohnanza (523456) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662173)

At least 'till they can travel back in time and do the math correctly the first time.

Re:John Titor delayed (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662251)

As a result of the creation of microsingularities, the explosion has been delayed about a week while it time travels...which explains why the original article failed to mention an explosion.

It is not about what you know it is who you know" (0, Offtopic)

r4g3 (1070304) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662077)

This is a typical example of things than can go bad is the It is not about what you know it is who you know" theory kicks in reality. Yet the knowledge guy is still a security guy somewhere and the managers son keeps coming in to work!

Re:It is not about what you know it is who you kno (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662361)

Where is the mod "incoherent" selection when you really need it?

Units? (4, Funny)

Tx (96709) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662079)

Fermilab - USA. CERN - Europe. You guys did use metric units this time, right? ;)

Re:Units? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662151)

Ahh, so "circunference" is metric for "circumference"?

Re:Units? (1)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662313)

Thats why they call it a "Royale with cheese".

Re:Units vs "Freefall" by Hoffer (1)

pg--az (650777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662599)

Googling on (( FREEFALL HOFFER )), you are led to a TRUE STORY which can be had used for a penny from Amazon Marketplace. It *WAS* an English-Metric issue, which led to the 767 running out of fuel in mid-flight, finding an airfield only by luck.

They should have listened (5, Funny)

aalu.paneer (872021) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662083)

Old story. Duplicate. Or was there a time slip? (1, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662085)

It is a duplicate, a week old accident/failure whatever. See slashdot story of last week [slashdot.org] and new scientist story last week [newscientist.com]

Or it could be that the news that it failed on April 07 was sent back in time and appeared on April 02. They should not be messing with fundamental physics like this.

Re:Old story. Duplicate. Or was there a time slip? (1)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662483)

See! There was a rift caused in the space-time continuium! The time between stories (5 days, 2 days) is slowly coming back into phase. It should appear again tomorrow, then in 6 hours be back in sync with the normal flow of time.

Ah, it's All about the Higgs Boson (2, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662095)

So the Higgs Boson is a theoretical particle which both the LHC and the Tevatron are trying to prove the existance of and determine its mass. It is important because it could be an elementary particle that could explain the origin of mass of other elementary particles and differentiate between the massless proton and the heavy W and Z Bosons, indicating where the differentiation between electromagnetism and weak force arises. Better understanding these fundamental forces could affect better understanding aspects of microstructures and the univ... Ah hell, I have no idea what this is all about! This one's over my head, I think I'll go back to Soviet Russia jokes now.

Re:Ah, it's All about the Higgs Boson (3, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662285)

I'll make it simple: whatever the standard theory says, root for it to be wrong as wrong can be, and for the entire theoretical physics community to go on a rampage, ripping out and replacing things we've long held to so certain they were hardly worth questioning.

It's bound to be more fun that way.

Of course governments will be freaked that they spent so much money to prove something and failed to do it, but that entirely misses the point. What makes trying to prove our basic assumptions about the universe worthwhile is the small possibility that they're wrong in some fundamental and important way. I for one look forward to the day when some big shot physicists hold a press conference and announce, "You know what we've been telling all along about [perpetual motion/faster than light travel/anti-gravity/time travel]? Well, it turns out not to be entirely, precisely true." How cool would that be?

It'll be a big ho-hum if they announce that they've found the Higgs Boson exactly the way they expected with exactly the observations they predicted.

Re:Ah, it's All about the Higgs Boson (3, Funny)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662541)

The universe, being rather on the largish-side, probably already contains at least two of everything possible within it, formed naturally through one way or another (such as the evolution of a species which is obsessed with lunch, and so designs and constructs the Free Sandwich button).

However, of the many infinite realities which do not exist, those in which Free Sandwich buttons were possible became filled with sandwiches soon after their initial springing-forth, nilling the potential for all other life, and so clearly the Anthropic principle takes over.

Of course, this is a flawed argument anyway, since as far as we know, and free sandwich button could probably not produce sandwiches at a rate which would cause a sandwich queue to expand at faster than the speed of light, and would probably collapse into a delicious but deadly black hole before expanding to reality-threatening magnitudes. I think the argument's concept is clear and reasonable, however.

Re:Ah, it's All about the Higgs Boson (2, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662897)

What if we allow for the existence of imaginary sandwiches? Or at least sandwiches of imaginary mass?

summary: this story is a dupe (1, Funny)

yoyoq (1056216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662099)

why is it still posted if the summary itself acknoledges this story is a dupe?

Gadzooks! (3, Funny)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662145)

We've lost containment of the hellium! Quick, we need a goateed doctor and a musclebound space marine from Phobos!

measure twice... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662177)

...supercollide once.

oo, er.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662189)

Was I the only one who read that as "The Large HARDON Collider". Sounds like something you would want to stay clear of in case of explosions.

Helium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662213)

I can almost hear the squeaking scientists running from the clouds of helium like a pack of chipmunks. Helium while a little dangerous can be alot of fun too ;)

Hellium? No wonder there was an explosion! (1, Funny)

dummkopf (538393) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662227)

If it were Helium, then, since Helium is an inert gas, things would have been less dangerous. But Hellium, let me tell you, that is another baby. It's the gas straight from Hell, you know? Basically a satanic fart. Oh wait, I guess that could be a typo. Anyhow. I hope things get better at CERN...

tag "oshits" plz (1)

SaidinUnleashed (797936) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662255)

100 internets to whoever tags this story "oshits" or "ohshitson"

What kind of leak? (3, Funny)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662261)

...a leak of hellium gas and....

Jesus christ! ... oh wait.....

Good thing no one was hurt (1)

caffiend666 (598633) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662277)

Good thing no one was hurt! Would hate to think that someone was once again killed by theoretical physics and bad calculus. Please tell me this wasn't another traditional to metric conversion problem.... What's with runnimg from the cloud of Helium, were they scared of sounding funny while describing on TV what the explosion sounded like? Would be funny to hear the chipmunks describing an accident at the nuclear/quantum research facility. I know I know, nothing quite like a cloud of radiactive, potentially cryogenic or super-heated to scare the living daylight out of you.

Free! (1)

Presidential (805793) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662325)

And the people within a 200km radius all enjoyed a free MRI that day, too!

Deja boom (1)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662331)

There is the theory of the moebius, a twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop, where time becomes a loop, where time becomes a loop...

Any missing physicists? (1, Interesting)

lexarius (560925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662339)

I wonder if any of them ended up on Another World [wikipedia.org] ?

Time to get the eyes checked (4, Funny)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662397)

On my first scan of the /. home page this morning, I read this headline as "Bad Meth Causes Explosion at CERN Collider". Needless to say, the actual story turned out to be a lot less interesting than I thought it would be :-D

Re:Time to get the eyes checked (1)

DarkSarin (651985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662563)

I did the same thing--and was going to write about it until I saw your comment. Thanks.

I think I'm partially responsible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662417)

I did help with the calculations by running LHC@Home.

Aren't these the same guys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662431)

who swear they can create black holes in their collider without swallowing up the whole earth? I mean, they PROVED mathematically that it's safe, right?

Re:Aren't these the same guys... (1)

alisson (1040324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662597)

I suppose technically, a mini-black hole could eventually suck all the air off the planet... but not before exploding...

Out of this world (1)

snemarch (1086057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662463)

Man, that's just out of this world...

Bad Math Causes Explosion at CERN Collider (2, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662505)

A bunch of Mathheads cook up a bad batch in their laboratory and it explodes. I think we've seen this story on the news before.

I knew it! (1)

alisson (1040324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662555)

I always knew math was out to get me :(

Helium is not friendly! (2, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662641)

When you're working with liquid nitrogen and liquid helium (as coolants for superconducting magnets) it's easy to assume they're harmless because they're chemically inert. However a small volume of liquid boils into a huge volume of gas, which will exclude the air - and precious oxygen - from the vicinity. A big helium leak is no laughing matter because of the asphyxiation risk.

Something smells fishy (3, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662647)

So Fermilab, CERN's competition, designed the magnets that happened to have a basic design flaw? Hmmmm, cue The Beastie Boys tune "Sabotage"!

Re:Something smells fishy (3, Informative)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18663011)

Fermilab and CERN are only competitors under a quite loose definition of the word. ATLAS and CMS are competitors, CDF and D0 are competitors, Fermilab and CERN are not really. Actually, most of the people working at CERN either also work at or have worked at Fermilab (or one of the other accelerator labs). Most of the people at Fermilab are anticipating working at CERN in the next few years. I myself have been working at Fermilab for the last few years, but I am starting work at CERN this summer.

CERN is a continuation of what Fermilab has been working on, not a rival.

The CAPTCHA is "footstep". Appropriate. CERN is following in Fermilab's footsteps (and then going quite a bit further).

Re:Something smells fishy (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18663033)

So Fermilab, CERN's competition, designed the magnets that happened to have a basic design flaw? Hmmmm, cue The Beastie Boys tune "Sabotage"!

Once could equally easily invert this; CERN, Fermilab's competition and responsible for reviewing and approving the design, managed to miss a fundemental flaw in the design. Plenty of blame to go around here on both sides of the Atlantic.

Obligatory Office Space (2, Funny)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662649)

"I must've....put a decimal in the wrong place. DAMMIT! I always do that!"

mod dowN (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662753)

fear 7he 8eaper

When Physicists screw up... (2, Interesting)

Temkin (112574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18662793)


When physicists screw up, they certainly do it spectacularly. Though I don't think this quite rises to the level of the Castle Bravo "oops" [wikipedia.org] :-)

Sounds strangely familiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18662845)

I wonder if they have a Gordan Freeman working for them.
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