Large Hadron Collider shuts down, weasel to blame

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the most advanced and power scientific instrument ever built, but it’s also more fragile than you’d expect. So much so that it was once broken by a piece of bread. The latest amusing source of a malfunction is a weasel. Specifically, a weasel that chewed through a power cable.

The LHC is managed by CERN, the press office of which has confirmed engineers have tracked down the cause of some recent electrical problems. The damaged power line was eventually found with evidence of gnawing by a small mammal. The leading suspect is a weasel, but a CERN statement also says a marten could be to blame. This led to an unexpected shutdown of the instrument as everyone worked to hunt down the cause.

LHC

CERN was preparing for a new wave of particle collisions when the mammal-induced shutdown occurred. Scientists want to acquire more data on the Higgs boson, which was theoretical until the LHC confirmed its existence in 2012. Researchers believe there could be more particles in similar energy ranges that could improve our understanding of gravity, quantum mechanics, and more. The LHC works by using giant electromagnets to accelerate particles around the 17-mile loop before smashing them into each other.

Repairs from the small mammal attack are expected to take a few days, but powering up the LHC takes time. The earliest it could be back online is the middle of May. Hopefully, the local wildlife population can be kept away in the future so we can get some science done.

 

Source: Science – Geek.com

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