Gas leak shuts LHC for two months
11:04 22 September 2008
A technical glitch means we are unlikely to get particle collisions at full speed this year.
New Scientist News
😦 I was looking forward to the media looking stupid for exadurating the stuff about black holes.
So, what could happen on September 10th? Here are some of the ideas, though not all are actually likely, just a lil joke.
5 Best Things (actually possible ones)
- Time travellers from the future appear and say hello. Admittedly this isn’t very likely, but theorists have shown that it is possible in principle. And it would be rather spectacular.
- The smart money is on the LHC creating the famous Higgs boson, so we would finally know why things weigh what they do.
- Special long-lived version of a particle called a gluino could be spat out. These could stick inside one the LHC???s giant detectors and decay when the accelerator is switched off. If this happened it would tell us that our universe is just one of many, many universes.
- The LHC might show that extra dimensions of space exist. Some physicists believe this would be the LHC???s most profound discovery because it tells us string theory is on the right lines.
- Nothing happens. If absolutely nothing new turns up at the LHC, it would shake fundamental physics to the core. It would tell us that all our understanding of forces and particles is wrong and we???d have to go back to the drawing board.
5 worst things (actually possible ones)
- The lights go out in Geneva. The LHC consumes 120 megawatts of power, about the same as Geneva and its environs. CERN gets its electricity from both France and Switzerland, so a blackout in unlikely.
- The proton beams become unstable and crash uncontrollably into a detector. At full pelt, each beam contains enough energy to melt 500 kilograms of copper. If a beam smashed directly into one the LHC???s giant experiments, it would fry the detectors. Engineers have built several safety systems to stop this happening.
- Fewer party balloons. The LHC???s superconducting magnets are cooled with 120 tonnes of superfluid helium. Top ups will be needed if there are power cuts or problems with the magnets.
- Part of the ring breaks. The ring uses superconducting magnets that need temperatures colder than outer space to work. If there is a problem, it will takes five weeks to warm the ring back up to room temperature and another five to cool it back down to 1.9 kelvin.
- Nothing happens. It may be intellectual dynamite but if nothing new shows up at the LHC, there will be no more money for big physics.
5 Funniest Things
- The ring disappears without trace and no-one can guess where it went.
- Time suddenly goes into reverse and I cough up this mornings breakfast.
- The ring suddenly becomes the centre of gravity for the solar system and we all get fried as the sun goes whizzing past us.
- The ring spouts a gigantic finger from another universe and Sauron steps through.
- Nothing happens.
- They get the blue and red wire mixed up and things spin in the wrong direction.
- The fuse goes and someone has to go and get a new one.
- The blue screen of doom splashes up on the monitor sending particles into France and everyone surrenders.
- They lose the key and have to start the LHC with a coat hangar and a screwdriver.
- They will turn it on and SG1 step through.
- It turns on and Daleks appear and kill everyone.
- The Planet is sucked into a black hole but due to time distortions and what not we never realise.
New Scientist: Short Sharp Science Blog
Wikipedia: Large Hadron Collider