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A small mammal has sabotaged the world's most powerful scientific instrument.
The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, went offline overnight. Engineers investigating the mishap found the charred remains of a furry creature near a gnawed-through power cable.
Unfortunately, Marsollier says, scientists will have to wait while workers bring the machine back online. Repairs will take a few days, but getting the machine fully ready to smash might take another week or two. "It may be mid-May," he says
short circuit caused by fouine
On Friday, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) opened its doors to allow particles to travel around the ring for the first time since the year-end technical stop (YETS) began in December 2015. At 10.30 am, a first bunch was circulating and by midday the beam was circulating in both directions.
2015 saw the start of Run 2 for the LHC, the largest accelerator in the world where the LHC reached a proton-proton collision energy of 13 TeV -- the highest ever reached by a particle accelerator. Beam intensity also increased and, by the end of 2015, 2240 protons bunches per beam were being collided. This year, the aim is to increase the number of bunches even further to the target of 2748.
Powering tests finished on 18 March 2016, and in the following week the LHC has been undergoing the final phase of preparation before beam.
The LHC is located outside of Geneva. "We are in the countryside, and of course we have wild animals everywhere." There have been previous incidents, including one in 2009, when a bird is believed to have dropped a baguette onto critical electrical systems.
5:30 Severe electrical perturbation
Not the best week for LHC!
• Affected all accelerators
• Most LHC magnets performed “Fast Aborts”
• Main circuits with earth fault, checked and
• Several current leads quenched
• Cryo down everywhere
• RF He purge (standard)
• Cause: short circuit caused by fouine on
66kV transformer in point 8
• Transformer connections damaged