Big Bang collider shuts down

Technical glitch forces Large Hadron Collider to cease operations for two months

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  September 21, 2008

A technical glitch has forced the world’s biggest scientific experiment of our time to cease operations for at least two months.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has announced that a major helium leak took place in the tunnel housing the Large Hadron Collider.

“In order to fix the problem, the machine will have to be warmed up from its operating temperature of minus 271.3 degrees Celsius (minus 456.3 degrees Fahrenheit)”, spokesman James Gillies told Reuters.

"Because the LHC is a superconducting machine that works at very low temperatures, in order to get in and fix it we've got to warm it up, then we go and fix it, and then we cool it down again, and that's a process that's likely to take two months," Gillies added.

CERN believes that a faulty electrical connection between two magnets caused the leak, which forced them to melt at high currents, leading to a mechanical failure. Officials stated that minor glitches are expected due to the complexity of the $9 billion machine.

It’s the latest hiccup the mammoth project had to face after hackers breached the CERN system and compromised security.

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