Peckish bird briefly downs big atom smasher

Nov 09, 2009
The LHC tunnel

A peckish bird briefly knocked out part of the world's biggest atom smasher by causing a chain reaction with a piece of bread, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said Monday.

Bits of a French loaf dropped on an external electrical power supply caused a short circuit last week, triggering failsafe devices that shut down part of the cooling system of the giant experiment to probe the secrets of the universe, said.

The system was restored several hours after the incident last Tuesday while the multi-billion dollar was barely affected, a spokeswoman said.

"The bird escaped unharmed but lost its bread," CERN said in a statement.

"On Tuesday 3 November, a bird carrying a baguette bread caused a in an electrical outdoor installation that serves sectors 7-8 and 8-1 of the ," it added.

"The knock-on effects included an interruption to the operation of the LHC cryogenics system."

The 27 kilometre-long (17 mile) particle collider, which runs in a circular tunnel under the French-Swiss border near the city of Geneva, has been plagued by problems since it was briefly started up in September 2008.

However, CERN said the latest incident was minor and did not affect attempts to restart the accelerator later this month following repairs.

"It made for a small warming from absolute zero (minus 273 degrees Celsius, minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit) on the Celsius scale to minus 268 degrees but the machine was not stopped," CERN spokesman Renilde Vanden Broek told AFP.

"Everything returned to normal a few hours later and operations were able to resume in the night of November 5," she added.

Designed to shed light on the origins of the universe, the LHC at CERN took nearly 20 years to complete and cost six billion Swiss francs (3.9 billion euros, 4.9 billion dollars) to build.

The bird was believed to be an owl.

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 20

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Going
5 / 5 (7) Nov 09, 2009
Electricity grids have extensive outdoor components yet are not knocked out by bird activity. Don't blame the bird, this is poor design of exterior equipment.
SincerelyTwo
3.8 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2009
""The bird escaped unharmed but lost its bread," CERN said in a statement."

Awww...

And Going; well, I was going to be all in your face about it since we clearly don't know the reasons for why it might be that way but... that is kinda stupid actually. Achilles' heel.

They could put a giant metal mesh net around it, or have laser sentries activated by motion to attack shit. >:\

We better not find ourselves moments from finding the higgs when a squirrel decides to charge at the power supplies.
Doug_Huffman
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2009
@Going, reeally? You're not evidently a distribution engineer. The vast majority of unplanned neighborhood outages are due to birds' and squirrels' suicide by self-immolation.
JIMBO
2.4 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2009
Is this a news story from fox or enquirer....?
"Chain reaction" is as wrong as "Atom Smasher".
PHYSORG readers know the difference. Why not the writer ? The former pertains to fission reactors, and the latter term from pre-WWII accelerators, both irrelevant here.
Dinotron
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
"plagued by problems..."
oh please!!!
ealex
5 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2009
He might not be a distribution engineer, but you WOULD think that they would have consider this problem when they designed those power sources. I mean if a piece of bread dropped in by a bird can cause a short-circuit I'd hate to find out how it fares again other elements of nature.

Bummer for the bird though.

Also, if any extraterrestrial beings are watching us, they are, yet again, laughing their ass off.
axemaster
5 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2009
I have to say, if I were working on the LHC... I would have loled.

Seriously, this stuff is hilarious. Someone should write a book entitled, "Woes of a Physicist" after this is over.
lugdunum
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2009
It's the Higgs Boson reaching through time to avoid being detected: http://www.nytime...tml?_r=1
Wkd_Angel
1.2 / 5 (9) Nov 09, 2009
Just my opinion,here,but the Project itself is a waste of money,effort,and brilliant minds;that could be used in a constructive manner;)
Could it be? That what they're trying to DO,the very thing they're looking FOR? Is stopping this whole project from succeeding? lol A Bird? It's always the *machine's fault*or... in this case,*bird*...lol and NOT the Operators fault lol
All your comments here are funny,won't quote them all,but I agree,100%;)lol
SincerelyTwo
5 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2009
The bird didn't stop it, it's still running and doing fine.
NotAsleep
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 09, 2009
Forum administrators should remove all comments that have "lol" in their body. Except this one.
Mr_Man
not rated yet Nov 10, 2009
How long until some rogue group of attention seeking scientists say the bird was sent from the future to help sabotage the LHC before it can be run at full strength?
bhiestand
not rated yet Nov 10, 2009
How long until some rogue group of attention seeking scientists say the bird was sent from the future to help sabotage the LHC before it can be run at full strength?

They already did, this merely confirms their theory and shall prompt a new press release!
Alizee
Nov 10, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ac04605
not rated yet Nov 10, 2009
I attend a culinary college and french bread is well known for splintering the skin and throwing off your entire day. Glad to see I'm not the only one...
Truth
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2009
I believe the reason there are so many negative comments concerning this report is that it is so implausible. After a century of electrical grid and power supply constructions, a bird dropping a piece of bread and "wounding" a massive 21st. century large hadron collider sounds VERY suspicious. I wonder if there isn't some other reason the system was affected, a reason that wouldn't go over very well with the people funding the project.
Alizee
Nov 11, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Alizee
Nov 11, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Tachyon8491
1.7 / 5 (3) Nov 12, 2009
Now Zargon, let's morph this robotic probe into the local avian variety they call "owl" and pass a hunk of that disgusting fare referred to as "baguette" will you? Next time we can use the "eagle" form and drop something a little more potent perhaps...
Husky
Nov 14, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Magus
not rated yet Nov 15, 2009
Where did the bread come from?
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Nov 15, 2009
Is that important? Do you want to sue the bakery?
scratchydog
not rated yet Nov 15, 2009
All your questions will be answered here http://cdsweb.cer.../47/News Articles/1221806?ln=en
scratchydog
not rated yet Nov 15, 2009
nativeplants
Nov 16, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.