Pop goes the weasel as Hadron Collider shuts down (Update)

April 30, 2016
A May 31, 2007 file photo shows a view of the Large Hadron Collider in its tunnel at the European Particle Physics Laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland. It's one of the physics world's most complex machines, and it has been immobilized—temporarily—by a weasel. Spokesman Arnaud Marsollier says the world's largest atom smasher, the LHC, at CERN, has suspended operations because a weasel invaded a transformer that helps power the machine and set off an electrical outage on Thursday night, April 28, 2016. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP, File)

A weasel shut down the world's most powerful particle smasher when it wandered onto a 66,000-volt transformer and caused a short circuit, Europe's physics lab CERN said Saturday.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was halted "following technical issues, including a power cut due to the passage of a weasel on a high voltage electrical transformer," CERN spokesman Arnaud Marsollier told AFP.

The collider suffered a "severe electrical perturbation" at 5:30 am (0330 GMT) Friday, CERN, the French acronym for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, said in its daily activity summary.

It said the cause was a "short circuit caused by fouine"—a beech marten, which is a member of the weasel family—on a 66-kilovolt transformer.

Marsollier said that "some connections were slightly damaged and we are at work to repair" the damage caused by the weasel, which did not survive its high-voltage encounter.

The repairs "should take no longer than a few days," he said.

"Not the best week for LHC!" CERN said in its summary.

The LHC, housed in a 27-kilometre (17-mile) tunnel straddling the French-Swiss border, was used to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson, also known as the God particle, by crashing proton beams at velocities near the speed of light.

That discovery of the Higgs—the long-sought maker of mass—earned the 2013 Nobel physics prize for two of the scientists who had theorised its existence back in 1964.

Restart delayed

Friday's incident came at an unfortunate time.

Scientists had been gearing up to resume experiments at the giant lab early next week following a technical stoppage of several months, and to relaunch their superpowered hunt for particles that could change our understanding of the Universe.

Following the weasel incident and several other technical issues, Marsollier said "we will now need to check over the entire machine again".

He said it remained unclear when the experiments could resume, but added that it clearly would "take more time before we can get started."

The weasel was not the first animal to wreak havoc at the LHC.

In 2009, a peckish bird briefly knocked out part of the particle collider when it dropped a baguette on an external electrical power supply and triggered a chain reaction that shut down part of the LHC's cooling system.

But that time the system was restored within several hours.

After the Higgs discovery, the LHC underwent a two-year upgrade, reopening last year with double energy levels and a vastly expanded the potential for groundbreaking discoveries.

The lab allows beams containing billions of protons to shoot through the massive collider in opposite directions.

Powerful magnets bend the beams so that they collide at points around the track where four laboratories have batteries of sensors to monitor the smashups.

The sub-atomic rubble is then scrutinised for novel particles and the forces that hold them together.

Late last year, before the technical shutdown and after running for more than six months at double energy levels, scientists said they had discovered anomalies that could possibly hint at the existence of mysterious new particle.

Some have theorised it could be a larger cousin of the Higgs boson, or that it could imply the existence of extra space-time dimensions.

"We might have the first hint of something unexpected," CERN physicist Paris Sphicas told AFP this week, stressing the importance of rebooting the LHC experiments.

"The only way to tell if this thing is real or just a statistical fluctuation, a fluke, ... (is with) much more data," he said.

Explore further: Minor glitch delays restart of Large Hadron Collider

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42 comments

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TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (7) Apr 29, 2016
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (8) Apr 29, 2016
To paraphrase Shakespeare -
"The best laid plans of weasels and men, oft gang awry..."
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (12) Apr 29, 2016
@WG

To paraphrase Shakespeare -
"The best laid plans of weasels and men, oft gang awry..."

Please, allow me to correct; you would be paraphrasing Robert Burns. Third verse of the second to last stanza from the poem . " To a Mouse "http://www.poetry...il/43816

Yes, it sums it up; an inspired way to formulate Murphy's law.
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (5) Apr 29, 2016
To paraphrase Shakespeare -
"The best laid plans of weasels and men, oft gang awry..."

http://www.phrase...men.html

not Shakespeare a farmers ode to a mouse in a field
ogg_ogg
3.7 / 5 (18) Apr 29, 2016
It's not known what particle the weasel was hunting... Doesn't this seem a bit over the top? I mean, I know these Physicists are competitive, but to call a dead colleague a "weasel" is a bit too much. Fowl play?
axemaster
5 / 5 (10) Apr 29, 2016
Marsollier says Friday that the weasel died—and little remains of it.

I'm sorry but this made me giggle.
vpoko
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 29, 2016
"It's not a bug, it's a weasel."
Frank Silver
1 / 5 (3) Apr 29, 2016
We would love to see pictures of the little remains of the weasel. Thank you very much.
Whydening Gyre
4.9 / 5 (8) Apr 29, 2016
Please, allow me to correct; you would be paraphrasing Robert Burns. Third verse of the second to last stanza from the poem . " To a Mouse "http://www.poetry...il/43816

Spankin' myself for that gaff...
RobertKarlStonjek
5 / 5 (2) Apr 29, 2016
Maybe they should review the use of licorice flavoured insulation of their high voltage cables?
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (5) Apr 30, 2016
Not sure why that space would not be a clean room. It's not about the machinery it's about the unknown surprise, like a weasel. Hmmm, sounds metaphorical!
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
5 / 5 (4) Apr 30, 2016
"A stoat. a weasel, and a badger walks into a lab ..."

Oh. wait.
compose
Apr 30, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
cgsperling
5 / 5 (5) Apr 30, 2016
I have a theory, but it requires spherical weasels in a vacuum.
(apologies to "Big Bang Theory")
antigoracle
2.9 / 5 (14) Apr 30, 2016
Why did the weasel cross the collider?
For the Big Bang.
Stephen_Crowley
1 / 5 (3) Apr 30, 2016
We used to be able to read the LBLOGBOOK.CERN.CH until those asshats put a password on it
Steelwolf
3 / 5 (12) Apr 30, 2016
Round and Round the Magnetic Track,
The Nuclei chased Each Other.
While Digging in an Electrical Shack
POP Goes The Weasel...

Just how much resistance did the weasel put up?

Although in Oregon the collisions tend to be with Possums, and the Chicken crossed the road to prove to the prove to the possum it could be done! Hard to do much science with colliding Possums though, too many of the particles play dead!
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (10) Apr 30, 2016
Just how much resistance did the weasel put up?

About a kilo-Ohm (which is roughly the range of skin resistance).
ab3a
5 / 5 (7) Apr 30, 2016
It was a Kill-o-Ohm.
HocusLocus
4.3 / 5 (3) Apr 30, 2016
An intelligent and curious weasel blazing with the precious spark of life, wanders into an improperly secured 66kV transformer and is completely annihilated... and press release and coverage takes the transformer's point of view. Some even rail on about expense and delay. Everyone cannot resist re-quoting the children's song.

Silly people who think particle physics experiments will open a rift in space-time: you got it all wrong. A rift has been opened in the moral and ethical continuum and is getting wider every day. If the whole of Geneva should be destroyed next in a bright coronal arc be watching for heartfelt laments for the loss of expensive hardware.
Steelwolf
2.2 / 5 (10) Apr 30, 2016
Wow, talk about a Very Spiritual Weasel, with a Thousand OMs he ascended physically, well, until the bits reached the top of their trajectory etc.
obama_socks
1 / 5 (8) Apr 30, 2016
Round and Round the Magnetic Track,
The Nuclei chased Each Other.
While Digging in an Electrical Shack
POP Goes The Weasel...

Just how much resistance did the weasel put up?

Although in Oregon the collisions tend to be with Possums, and the Chicken crossed the road to prove to the prove to the possum it could be done! Hard to do much science with colliding Possums though, too many of the particles play dead!
- Steelwolf

Very apt poetry. I suggest adding to it and setting it to music. You MIGHT be the next Pete Seeger. Are you an activist?

Did the anti-LHC people give the weasel a proper funeral?
Steelwolf
1 / 5 (6) Apr 30, 2016
Since in the article there were no monkeys nor mulberry bushes so I decided to give a slightly more appropriate set of words for the old tune, spruce it up a tad for the new millenum
TechnoCreed
4.5 / 5 (11) Apr 30, 2016
Until we checked, the critter was both alive and dead.
TechnoCreed
5 / 5 (8) Apr 30, 2016
The gutsy weasel got entangled with a cat.
TechnoCreed
4.7 / 5 (6) Apr 30, 2016
Hunting sparticles its life met a stop.
TechnoCreed
4.1 / 5 (7) Apr 30, 2016
The ghostly sweasel is now piece of scat.
Da Schneib
4.8 / 5 (5) May 01, 2016
Just how much resistance did the weasel put up?

About a kilo-Ohm (which is roughly the range of skin resistance).
Groan
TechnoCreed
4.4 / 5 (5) May 01, 2016
How about that! I got mixed feelings from the critics... I just think that a "now famous weasel" deserves a proper epitaph, don't you?

Either those critics do not subscribe to supersymmetry or I made them sad. In the first case... Guys aren't you aware that there is something going on at 750GeV? In the second case, here are some politically correct nursery rhymes to make you feel better http://www.dailym...es-.html

However cuddly those things look, I am not the only one who feels that the little pest deserved my fourth verse; I am sure that there are plenty of people at CERN who feels that way too... The machine is out for at least a week https://op-webtoo...tars.php
Captain Stumpy
2.8 / 5 (8) May 01, 2016
rather liked this one, myself @Techno
Until we checked, the critter was both alive and dead.
LMFAO

Phys1
4.4 / 5 (7) May 01, 2016
Weasels are classical, cats are quantum.
antigoracle
2.6 / 5 (10) May 01, 2016
Shouldn't that headline read--
Weasel creates Big Bang at Large Hadron Collider.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (4) May 01, 2016
@Techno, I only rated them on perceived amusement factor, not any political scheme. If the pun is too complicated it's not punny any more.
TechnoCreed
4.2 / 5 (5) May 01, 2016
@Da Shneib & Cie
Don't worry. My rant was just a pretext to introduce some clues for readability. Even it was intended to be funny.

There are no adversaries in this thread. Everybody... Fives for anti; I'll pick up the tab ;-)
Ever Bleed
3.5 / 5 (2) May 01, 2016
RIP our pointy nosed friend. You died for a greater cause. And how the fuck did you get in there in the first place?
Enthusiastic Fool
4 / 5 (3) May 01, 2016
Weren't they colliding lead nuclei last year? They've already moved up to weasel nuclei! Technology moves at break neck speed! Can we name the weasel CERNest Rutherford? CERNer Heisenberg?

Im making the assumption it was a Pine Marten. Had a pine marten chew the radiator hoses up in my car in Germany in 2012. By the time I got to work I was steaming mad. Those lil dudes love rubber hoses and antifreeze.
Carmen O
3 / 5 (2) May 02, 2016
Hint: Maybe Mother Nature is trying to tell them something. How about they explain that "Scientists had been gearing up to resume experiments at the giant lab early next week following a technical stoppage of several months". Exactly what type of technical stoppage happen when they were almost all partying? Way to go little weasel, we appreciate your sacrifice.

Steelwolf
not rated yet May 05, 2016
Going out with a Big Bang, becoming a whole new class of particles in and of itself (Many of which the cleaning techs are dealing with) did allow him to come to a sparticular end. Shrodinger's cat is either Jealous or Not Jealous, hard to tell at the moment. They could at least change the human expressions on their Shiva Statue to one with more of a weaselish look, it would fall right into line with everything else. Put it in an orange, hand knit sweater and everyone would know it belonged to the Weasling Family...
viko_mx
not rated yet May 06, 2016
?Carmen O

Nature is not your mather for sure and ca not sreate nothing because of luch of inteligence, will, intensions and abilities to do intensional works. It only obey originaly established physical laws that suport the Creator order in the universe in the interest of life.
Phys1
not rated yet May 06, 2016
@viko_mx
Nature does not need creation. There is no creation and there never was.
viko_mx
not rated yet May 06, 2016
Every building needs a builder. The universe with it vast size, high energies and all precisely tuned physical laws, constant and fundamental forces that support origanali established order in it in the interest of life, need very powerfull super intelligent builder. The order without the ideas, will, knowedge and technological capabilities of intelligent being according to its moral priciples is impasible. The order is awlays product of intensional choice. Behind it stay information which can be only product of mental process of intelligent being.
Phys1
not rated yet May 06, 2016
@viko_mx
That is what you believe because your lack the power of imagination to appreciate how it really happened. The power has been taken away from you by brainwashing. Intellectually, you are a wreck.

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