Large Hadron Collider restart delayed till October

Jun 20, 2009
Probing Question: Could the Large Hadron Collider swallow the Earth?
Large Hadron Collider. Photo: CERN

(AP) -- The world's largest atom smasher will likely be fired up again in October after scientists have carried out tests and put in place further safety measures to prevent a repeat of the faults that sidelined the $10 billion machine shortly after startup last year, the operator said Saturday.

The was meant to restart in late September, but that will probably be pushed back two to three weeks, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research said.

"We're pretty confident about the dates," James Gillies told The Associated Press, adding that scientists believe they understand the error that happened last year and how to prevent it occurring again.

An electrical fault caused by a faulty splice in the wiring shut down the giant machine on Sept. 19, nine days after it was started up with great fanfare.

The 20-nation operator, known as , expects repairs and additional safety systems to cost about 40 million Swiss francs ($37 million) over the course of several years, Gillies said.

Once it is running, scientists will use the machine to smash together protons from inside a 27-kilometer (17-mile) circular tunnel under the Swiss-French border near Geneva. By recording what particles are produced by the collisions they hope to better understand the makeup of the universe and everything in it.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User comments : 25

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Scire
1 / 5 (3) Jun 20, 2009
:(
stupidAlgebraNeverWorking
1 / 5 (2) Jun 20, 2009
That's too bad D:
Damon_Hastings
4.4 / 5 (7) Jun 20, 2009
Take your time, CERN. The rest of us are eager and anxious, of course, but we all understand that rushing something like this could be disastrous, and that you're doing something on a scale never attempted before. So take your time, and do it right. We'll wait.
Alizee
Jun 20, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
SpeakerToWolves
5 / 5 (10) Jun 20, 2009
Sorry, Alizee, but that's a lie. A _VERY_ detailed safety study was done, and the results have been publicly available for a long time. For a summary, see http://public.web...-en.html

For a more detailed summary of the technical details containing numerous references, see http://cern.ch/ls...port.pdf

Bottom line: Cosmic-ray proton-proton collisions at _MUCH_ higher energies have been occurring in the Universe and even within the Earth's own atmosphere for many billions of years --- yet the Universe is still here, and the Earth is still here. Therefore, the alleged `risk' is quite literally ASTRONOMICALLY SMALL. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not studied the relevant physics --- they've been reading propaganda from ignorant scaremongers who have no clue what they are talking about because their `knowledge' of `physics' comes from from comic books and bad fiction novels.
Auxon
3.3 / 5 (6) Jun 20, 2009
Expensive lemon. I hope they get it fixed though.
Switch
4.3 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2009
I feel like a kid again! Eager anticipation and excitement coupled with doubt due to the probability of bitter disappointment in the end.
Slotin
2 / 5 (8) Jun 21, 2009
Sorry, Alizee, but that's a lie. A _VERY_ detailed safety study was done. A _VERY_ detailed safety study was done
Where the risk of charged black holes is evaluated, for example? How quickly the Earth may be swallowed by charged black hole with compare to uncharged one?
Slotin
Jun 21, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
itistoday
1 / 5 (1) Jun 21, 2009
"We're pretty confident about the dates"


Bwahahahahaha!
SincerelyTwo
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 21, 2009
Most of you idiots refuse to comprehend that the earth, and every other planet, is naturally victim to particle collisions regularly over it's entire lifetime and at energy levels far exceeding the LHC - the only difference is we're doing it in a lab, and the ignorant masses naturally fear everything always.

There's a probability for you to turn in to a giant elephant right now, you better kill yourselves before you suffer such a horrible incident, please.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2009
@ Slotin:

Read the report. As SpeakerToWolves said, it includes all relevant risks if it is comparing with what is already happening on higher energy scales and flows.

You ask how these things correlate. These are independent collisions, so already included by cosmic ray sources also being independent. This is also already happening with no ill effects.

But if you want to do the effort, that statistical independence should clue us in on how to do the math.

[Hint: The risk when multiplying ASTRONOMICALLY SMALL risks together is on the order of ASTRONOMICALLY SMALL^2, which is ASTRONOMICALLY SMALLer than the already ASTRONOMICALLY SMALL risk from each.]
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
3 / 5 (2) Jun 21, 2009
SincerelyTwo, good point. And IIRC the expected time for such quantum fluctuations actually making some macroscopic change, such as a Boltzmann Brain, is larger than the universe life time. Perhaps they are on the order of ASTRONOMICALLY SMALL^2, illustrating that people here already are concerned with such 'risks'.

[I put these as 'risks', because probabilities that aren't certain to be observable during a universe lifetime seems to me need some analysis to make sure they are meaningful, as the scaremongers and their supporters happily consider. If they exist, do we imply that we live in a multiverse? Or are the distributions existing just on the principle that these frequencies are in principle observable?]
Alizee
Jun 21, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
2.5 / 5 (2) Jun 21, 2009
Uups, sorry. I misread Slotin, the situation was probably about moving from, in principle, an inertial frame to another. Not about nearby collisions affecting each other. My bad.

That changes the energy (and momenta), but again are well covered what is already happening at larger energy and momenta.
Alizee
Jun 21, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2009
Alizee, you refuse to read the report and illegitimately declare that it neglects "everything" when in fact it covers "everything" by the comparison made. That is laughable for the rest of us, so you can as well stop.

The analysis you ask for is already done, you should deal with it.
Alizee
Jun 21, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2009
Alizee, your model doesn't make sense as you don't compare risks, a comparison of these processes over the total time they act. I suggest you read the report to learn how to do this.
Alizee
Jun 21, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Jun 21, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Jun 21, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Jun 21, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
brant
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2009
Sorry, Alizee, but that's a lie. A _VERY_ detailed safety study was done, and the results have been publicly available for a long time. For a summary, see http://public.web...-en.html



Bottom line: Cosmic-ray proton-proton collisions at _MUCH_ higher energies have been occurring in the Universe and even within the Earth's own atmosphere for many billions of years --- yet the Universe is still here, and the Earth is still here. Therefore, the alleged `risk' is quite literally ASTRONOMICALLY SMALL. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not studied the relevant physics --- they've been reading propaganda from ignorant scaremongers who have no clue what they are talking about because their `knowledge' of `physics' comes from from comic books and bad fiction novels.


You could do the most detailed safety study in the world but it still wont cover everything.....

Especially mystical entities like black holes, dark matter and dark energy...
DonR
4.7 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2009
Alizee, stop being an ignorant schuck and do some research before posting again. You were given a starting point a day ago.



Here it is again for convenience:

http://public.web...-en.html



RealScience
4.5 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2009
Alizee - you are correct that the collisions at CERN will have zero net momentum. This would be incovenient to fix due to the way bunches in both directions have to be at the same speed to stay within the beamline.



However your density worry is unfounded. Cosmic rays hit the moon, too, which takes matches density of the earth.



Furthermore cosmic rays hit white dwarfs, which are roughly six orders of manitude DENSER than the earth.

And white dwarfs survive at least long enough to cool down, and only seem to explode if matter is added to them to reach their limit of 1.4 solar masses.



And neutron stars are far denser even than white dwarfs. So cosmic rays with an energy eight orders of manitude higher than CERN can acheive (or 100 times higher than the entire bunch of protons) regularly smack into neutron stars roughly 14 orders of magnitude denser than the ground around CERN. And any resulting strangeness, even though initially moving near the speed of light, would slow down very quickly (in the first millimeter of the neutron star) and would have plenty of matter to munch on if it were hungry.



Since neutron stars survive cosmic ray bombardment long enough for their spins to slow down, CERN is not going to destroy the world.
daywalk3r
3 / 5 (4) Jun 21, 2009
Especially mystical entities like black holes, dark matter and dark energy...


Exactly! Batman, Superman and Peter Pan included! You name it.. ;o)

Now back to topic:
I think that the risk of black holes @ LHC can be safely excluded as those are only stable and/or able to gain mass at 2 very distant scales. One being at sub-atomic level (limited by what some call "neutron" repulsion force). And the other one being somwhere around 3-4 times the mass of our sun, compressed by star implosion below a specific critical radius (overcomming the repulsion). Meaning that at "our scale", even if there was a BH created, it would either last VERY shortly (and "decay") or it would not be able to gain any more mass as of the above mentioned repulsion force "not letting" any more mass to come close enough.

As for the momentum of the collisions being "non-zero" towards Earth - that is plainly impossible as it would require a perfect collision of perfectly identical particles, which is not going to happen. There will allways be rest momentum, and no 2 collided proton pairs will be the same.

So, in my humble opinion, if LHC is gonna destroy the world, it should not be by a BH :)
daywalk3r
3.6 / 5 (10) Jun 21, 2009
On a side note: How hard would it be to "contain" a very low mass "microscopic" black hole in a specialy designed array of magnetic fields ( vacuum) to keep it away from roaming and getting near other mass to "feed"? Not that I think a BH could ever exist at those scales, but just plainly hypotheticaly.. should be doable.. (?)
jonnyboy
1.6 / 5 (5) Jun 22, 2009
Alizee, it took you an awful lot longer to write those ridiculous posts than it did me to rate them 1 star (zero would be more appropriate) thus removing them from having to be viewed.

I can't wait for your next raving fit!

:-)
Sirussinder
4 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2009
All Lies. Sorry to disappoint both the LHC supporters and non supporters.



The only fact, is no one knows exactly all the outcomes. Good or bad has nothing to do with it.

Built to prove or disprove theories and assumptions that have yet to be backed by any solid, consistent real world proof about what actually is taking place or will take place inside the LHC at its highest energy level.

Accept all potential outcomes as neutral until real and consistent data/proof takes place from the LHC itself.

Alizee
Jun 22, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Jun 22, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Jun 22, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Ant
3 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2009
still no answer to where the sooty deposit came from or what caused it, could it have been a fall of soot from a black hole Ha ha? Taking time I agree with though, about 30 years will probably do me. Some of the commentors here should remember its gone arse over tit once allready.



denijane
3 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2009
Too bad for the delay, but I guess 2-3 weeks are not so much after a year in repair.
As for the people worried so much about charged black holes-how much charged black holes have you seen? How much event horizons has anybody seen? The answer of both things is ZERO. When I see a convincing evidences that this mathematical object called a black hole exist, then I'll worry about the possible creation of such black holes in LHC.
Ant
1 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2009
denijane I get the slightest of fellings that might be a millisecond too late.
denijane
4 / 5 (1) Jun 24, 2009
Ant, with the same effect, you should worry that LHC might produce Godzilla or the Big Foot. Then it will also be too late. Or who knows, we might get back in time and the resulting particle shower might kill Homo Sapiens instead of Neanderthals. How about that, huh? There's a chance!

But you don't worry about that. You worry about black holes-objects that only popular press "really" know what they are and what they can do. The scientists are much less sure about them and they will continue to be unsure until gravitational wave detectors catch something (anything?!). Yes, there are astrophysical objects that look like black holes, but the key moments in black holes are the event horizon and the singularity in the centre-until we see them (or at least the first), these heavy objects are not black holes, but dark heavy objects. And since the space is full of dark heavy objects, I don't see a reason why we should freak out we could create a miniature versions of them.