Friday, 17 July 2009

Ring a ring o' particles ...

The Large Hadron Collider, the massive science experiment which broke down last year within days of being switched on, is to start up again in September - a year after it was first activiated.

Amidst the hoo-ha that in the race to discover the so-called 'God Particle' it would create a black hole and bring about the end of the world, the activation of the machine produced not even the slightesy hint of anything apocalyptic. And then it broke.

The machine is currently being readied for its restart and the first beams of particles will be fired around its 17-mile ring in September with the first collisions will follow about a month later.

The LHC, based at the Swiss headquarters of the European nuclear research organisation Cern, was switched on in September last year amid a fanfare of publicity. But just 10 days later an electrical fault led to a catastrophic leak of helium used to cool the machine's powerful magnets, causing a complete shut-down.

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