World’s Largest Atom Smasher Shut Down By A Tiny Rodent

Posted: Apr 30 2016, 12:54am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 30 2016, 1:00am CDT, in News | Latest Science News


World’s Largest Atom Smasher Shut Down by a Tiny Rodent
Credit: Cern

The Large Hadron Collider – the world’s largest and most powerful scientific instrument experienced unexpected breakdown because of the intrusion of a weasel

It only took one small animal to bring down the world’s most powerful scientific instrument.

The Large Hadron Collider – the world’s largest and most improved atom smasher – went offline yesterday without any apparent fault. When engineers investigated the cause, they found that it was a rodent that messed with the system. The weasel chewed out a power cable outside the main building located near Geneva in Switzerland in which 66,000 volts of energy flows through. 

“We had electrical problems, and we are pretty sure this was caused by a small animal.” Arnaud Marsollier, spokesman from European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the organization that built the complex experimental facility over a 10-year long period told NPR.

“We are in the countryside and of course we have wild animals everywhere.” 

The Large Hadron Collider is a large circular tunnel with a circumference of 27 kilometers buried in the ground at a depth of 328 feet and the instument is created to help answer the fundamental questions in physics.The construction of the largest particle collider was started in 1998 in collaboration with more than 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 counties. The project was completed in year 2008.

CERN spokesman says that technicians are working hard to bring the machine back online but it may take few days or weeks to repair it and to get things back to work. 

This is not the first time when instrument experienced unexpected power loss. In 2009, an electrical short sidelined the particle accelerator. The cause was a baguette that caught inside the piece of equipment supporting the machine and was probably dropped by a bird. 

“Such events happened a few times in the past and are part of the life of such a large installation. Some connections were slightly damaged and we are at work repair, what would not take long.” Marsollier told ABC News.

“We will be back online soon with very exciting scientific programme as the LHC will explore further the world of particles at high energy.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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