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CERN Releases Analysis of LHC Incident 149

Posted by timothy
from the training-exercise-was-too-trite dept.
sash writes "From the fresh press release: 'Investigations at CERN following a large helium leak into sector 3-4 of the Large Hadron Collider tunnel have confirmed that cause of the incident was a faulty electrical connection between two of the accelerator's magnets. This resulted in mechanical damage and release of helium from the magnet cold mass into the tunnel. Proper safety procedures were in force, the safety systems performed as expected, and no one was put at risk. Sufficient spare components are in hand to ensure that the LHC is able to restart in 2009, and measures to prevent a similar incident in the future are being put in place.'"
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CERN Releases Analysis of LHC Incident

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  • But but.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sanso999 (997008) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:12PM (#25407217) Journal
    When is there ever a guarantee when it comes to electrical? Things frizzle, large areas have no power, cables wear out, the list goes on. 2009? I see this being a long project indeed.
    • by failedlogic (627314) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @10:13PM (#25408011)

      Guarntee? Hell no. But there's usually a warranty: 30-day money back, 2 year with manufacturer (if you pay for shipping) and 1 year or more extensions by paying 20% or more of purchase price. If I were the USA or Europe, I would make a claim on the warranty. Return the LHC under the money-back or warranty terms. Besides, with all that helium leakage, its obvious that a bunch of Chipmunks run the whole show. So much for science. Bah!

      1. Buy Monster Cables
      2. Spend too much money
      3. ????????????
      4. Working LHC ?????

    • Re:But but.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by moosesocks (264553) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @10:33PM (#25408139) Homepage

      AFAIK, there's nothing terribly innovative about the accelerator or cryo portions of the LHC, apart from the scale of the thing.

      The CEBAF in Virginia has been operating at 2 Kelvin since the mid-80s. The technology to operate an accelerator at Liquid Helium temperatures is mature and well-understood.

      Odds are, this is a one-time design/construction hiccup. It's unfortunate that it happened, but should be something which can easily be overcome.

      • by Falstius (963333)

        I'm guessing a cable was specified to XYZ and the supplier sold them a cable with spec X labeled XYZ. It wouldn't be the first time that has happened at CERN. Cables for harsh environments are expensive to make and expensive to buy, so there is a lot of temptation to cut corners.

        • Re:But but.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by g-san (93038) on Friday October 17, 2008 @01:34AM (#25408987)

          Or consider when you buy the amount of cable they did, that 0.00001% chance of defect creeps in.

          • That's kind of what I thought. IANAP, but in the electrical engineering world, particularly in Critical applications, there is a lot of testing and commissioning that goes on prior to bringing something online. Does anyone know if there are tests that can be done on this equipment to rule out such flaws? Something similar to "megger" testing or Infrared Scans and Load Banking? It would have been nice for them to have had this happen during commissioning rather than during "online activities".
            • by Falstius (963333)

              Huge amounts of time goes into commissioning the detectors, from model validation to connectivity testing to lifetime testing. The kind of 'random' testing normally done in QA (make 100, test 10 and if none fail you're pretty sure 99% will work) isn't sufficient here since that 1% fault can be the difference between success and failure. Just about every piece is individually tested, then tested after installation on a subcomponent, then tested after the subcomponent is moved to storage and then tested aft

      • Re:But but.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Candid88 (1292486) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:34AM (#25409911)

        It's a basic "trueism" of civil engineering that when you up the scale, you inevitably up the risks. Every little component which itself has a small risk of failure often adds ontop of each other, ultimately give a far greater risk of failure (or at least construction delays/setbacks). The technology may be sound at one scale, but that doesn't mean getting it to work on a bigger scale isn't difficult and doesn't present new problems.

        This area of the LHC was always a major challenge. I just hope they can overcome this problem (as appears to be the case) but more importantly that the measures taken to prevent future faults work as planned.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by c6gunner (950153)

      If you really believed that, you'd never willingly board any aircraft.

      Sure, things break down, whether electrical or mechanical. So what? That's why we conduct regular inspections, replace components based on established life-cycles, and conduct regular test-runs to ensure all systems function prior to being put into active service. Technicians aren't a bunch of witch-doctors, dancing around the machinery, shaking rattles, and moving components at random. It's a science like any other, and it produces r

    • by Sj0 (472011)

      We're just seeing a bathtub curve. We're going to see high failure rates for the first while as a perfectly normal and natural thing. After that, it's possible we won't see any statistically relevant failures for another 40 years, when we start to see end of life failure rates.

  • by 101010_or_0x2A (1001372) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:13PM (#25407221)
    If one faulty electrical connection (out of several thousands I'm sure), can cause the "largest scientific project on earth" to stall for 6 months, these hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings will probably have to wait for as long as Deep Thought did (7.5 million years I believe) to find out that the world has already ended, and they should've stuck to 42
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by stim (732091)
      Why is this modded down? Douglas Adams isn't even respected in here anymore?
    • by Candid88 (1292486) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:45AM (#25409955)

      "to stall for 6 months"

      I think it needs pointing out though that the LHC was always going to be shutdown over the next few months as a planned contigency period in-case of even bigger faults occuring then the one which did (or construction being delayed as was widely expected).

      The real experiments will be occuring by mid-2009.

      • by Gromius (677157)
        CERN always shuts down in winter. Power demand is at its peak in winter in France so its too expensive to run the accelerator complex. The winter shutdown has nothing to with the LHC.
    • by BigGar' (411008)

      I read the subject as "They got the idea from Deep Throat" and saw that your post was modded +5 funny and given the size and shape of the device, a giant rupture & spilling of fluid, I'd prepared myself accordingly.

      I start reading and am mightily confused as I can't for the life of me remember how electrical connections or pan-dimensional beings have anything to with the topic in my mind until I realize my mistake. I had to stop, put on my Joo Janta 2000 Super-Chromatic Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses and r

  • Too bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:15PM (#25407233)

    It's too bad that projects like the LHC will soon run out of funding as bankrupt nations concentrate on keeping their populations fed and/or preventing the overthrow of their governments, rather than burning issues like "what is mass, really, when you get down to it?". Of course glitches and malfunctions like this (and the previous ones) will only serve to put us past the point of possibly having been able to answer that question, but failing due to lack of funding.

    How many billions of Euros have been spent on this project already?

    • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by A beautiful mind (821714) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:46PM (#25407461)
      About the same amount as it takes to build 10 kilometres of underground metro in Budapest.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by jnmontario (865369)
      I'll take the above as sarcastic...but sometimes it's hard to tell. Honestly, there's always an argument for 'fix the wrongs of society' before funding pure science. That said, what society is worth living in that doesn't fund pure science. It is completely human (and arguably native to all thinking creatures) and satisfies the deep urge 'to know'. Think of what pure science has done for us. It has lifted us from the caves of Europe/Asia to space and beyond. It has given us everything from the interne
      • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @09:10PM (#25407635)

        I'll take the above as sarcastic...but sometimes it's hard to tell. Honestly, there's always an argument for 'fix the wrongs of society' before funding pure science. ...

        You have committed the logical fallacy of: False Dichotomy.

        This is not an either/or. You could do both (or neither).

        Why is it "pure science" vs "fix the wrongs" instead of "pure science" vs "cosmetics" or "cosmetics" vs "fix the wrongs".

        Additionally, can you ever "fix the wrongs," or will there always be more?

        • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

          by denton420 (1235028) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @10:05PM (#25407963)

          Exactly.

          Unfortunately for most of the population, the amount of money that governments generate is unimaginable. (My self included) When you are talking about that much money, the term it self almost loses the everyday definition. It is pure power to make things happen on a huge scale. A mobilizing agent of human power and innovation.

          There is so much money to be spent that the government hardly knows what to do with it all.

          Well maybe that last statement is unfair. They know how to spend it, they just do not know how to do it in an efficient manner without gross negligence in many instances.

          And hey, maybe figuring out what mass is "really" will help us solve world hunger. Its worked before...

          • It is simple to solve world hunger. All we need to do is start feeding plants "Brawndo". Its got electrolytes, which is what plants need.
        • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

          by UCSCTek (806902) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @10:25PM (#25408089)

          Well, it seems to me like you can't put the 5 billion euros into both the LHC and other causes at the same time.

          The point about fixing the wrongs is a good one. LHC will ultimately yield substantial progress towards understanding the universe (which, to fully appreciate, you really have to be a physicist). What is the expectation of sinking the money into a social program? Many programs here in the states are poorly constructed or simply underfunded so end up a waste, while some can truly help many people more directly and immediately than basic science research. From this angle, it seems science is a lower risk investment.

          PS Obviously things are just that simple, though...

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by c6gunner (950153)

            Some social programs DO work - the problem is that when governments spend money on social development they generally either can't predict or don't care about the efficiency of the program. The politician who promises to increase welfare payouts to poor families probably doesn't give a damn about whether his promise will have a positive or negative effect in the long term - he cares mostly about getting votes.

            You see the same things in other examples of government spending. NASA did some amazing things in

    • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Informative)

      by interactive_civilian (205158) <mamoru&gmail,com> on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:49PM (#25407499) Homepage Journal

      How many billions of Euros have been spent on this project already?

      About 3.4 billion euros, and estimated to total around 6 billion euros in the end. Compared to a lot of other things, that isn't that much. Especially when you consider that several countries have been shouldering the cost together

      • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NewsWatcher (450241) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @10:04PM (#25407953)

        If I had the choice of spending six billion euros on a quest to unlock some of the greatest mysteries on earth, or spend $US700 billion bailing out overpaid bankers and their cash-poor customers, I know what I would choose.

        • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

          by zippthorne (748122) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @11:25PM (#25408379) Journal

          Me, too. But if someone wants to pick "neither," what right do we have to take his money and spend it on our pet projects, anyway?

          • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

            by lysergic.acid (845423) on Friday October 17, 2008 @01:10AM (#25408867) Homepage

            with any public program there will be some people against its funding. so does that mean we do away with public schools, roads, mail system, police, fire departments, libraries, and all forms of public infrastructure and government?

            a democratic society makes decisions based on public good. most people would agree that funding the arts and sciences is in public interest. if you are really against public research, you can try to petition the government to cut scientific funding (this has happened recently). if that is not enough, you can move to a country where the government doesn't fund any scientific research (i'm sure there are a few out there).

            living in a society with other people means making compromises, that is part of the social contract which allows a civil society to exist. a free society doesn't mean everyone gets everything that they want even when it conflicts with the interests of the majority. thinking that you should always get what you want regardless of the good of the whole is a rather self-centered and immature attitude to take.

            • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

              by zippthorne (748122) on Friday October 17, 2008 @01:45AM (#25409025) Journal

              It's not a question of whether or not it is in the public interest. Clearly the public benefits from funding in the sciences, and less easily measurable in the arts. But how does that interest weigh against a man's right to the fruits of his own labors?

              The question is who funds it. If I believe (and I do, btw) that funding basic sciences and building particle accelerators a boon to myself and mankind, I'm inclined to donate some money to universities or other organizations engaged in the research I'm interested in (or that someone makes a cogent argument as to why I ought to be interested in.)

              The question is: do I have the right to demand YOUR treasure for things that make ME happy. I'm willing to concede that I have the right to spend *some* of your money on projects of particular import: police, fire, national defense, certain critical infrastructure, but every expenditure of public monies (even those I just mentioned) should be thoroughly debated, for every dollar spent was taken under threat of violence.

              • by hansraj (458504)

                If everything needed to be sold to people before they contributed for *that* cause, only "sexy" things would sell. OK, maybe not necessarily "sexy" but I think basic science costing $6 billion might be a hard sell.

                That said, maybe your idea would work. Heck, wikipedia works far better than anyone would have guessed few years ago about everyone freely editing an encyclopedia, and your idea doesn't even sound as insane as wikipedia would have sounded to most people back before it started. But your idea hasn't

              • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

                by stjobe (78285) on Friday October 17, 2008 @04:29AM (#25409647) Homepage

                do I have the right to demand YOUR treasure for things that make ME happy.

                In a word: No.

                YOU have no right to demand much of anything from ME. However, if we live in the same society, that society have rights to demand things of both you and me. It might demand some of MY treasure and give it to YOUR pet project.

                When you (implicitly) agree to take part of the benefits of living in a society, you also (implicitly) agree to pay the costs.

                The second you paid your taxes it's no longer your money, it's ours (as in yours and mine and everyone elses in our society). The distribution of which we've decided to leave up to our politicians (since we cannot bother ourselves).

                The politicians do "thoroughly debate" every expenditure, but not necessarily in a venue you or I have (easy) access to. This is in order since we've relinquished our right to influence those decisions.

                • Wow, I think that was one of the best explanations of our sociopolitical system I have ever seen. Well done sir.
                • by oliderid (710055)

                  When you (implicitly) agree to take part of the benefits of living in a society, you also (implicitly) agree to pay the costs.

                  Depends what you mean by implicitly. When I was a kid, my father used to tell me that I had already a debt of 35000 euro. This was a popular joke amongst belgians when the state debt was over 120% of the GDP in the 80's (now +/- 85% if I remind well). Because of this bad management (in the 70's and early 80's) the income tax went up dramatically (over 50% of my income during all my professionnal life)...My grand father used to remind me that in 50's they only had to pay...around 28% (and there were no VAT

                  • While you don't want to let your debt get too high, surplus is more of a crime than deficit: Politicians know only one way to deal with even temporary surpluses, and that is by creating additional long-term liabilities.

                    Further, all government debt is not a bad thing: Where do you think T-bills, a big part of many retirement plans, come from?

                    And then there's the whole purpose of debt: to finance a project *now* whose benefits are long-term. With debt, you can pay for a bridge over the life of the bridge, ra

          • by Roxton (73137)

            I measure these moral qualms against what I see as the (perhaps unattainable) gold standard of opt-in government.

            The government is magically set up so that it's easy for a large number of people to secede into a new government or to change governments. People get to evolve methods of governance, and each government decides how it relates to the other governments economically. People can create a government of one, but then their ability to engage in any sort of commerce with other people depends upon the

          • by Gromius (677157)
            If that somebody has accepted and benfitted from societies gifts to him, I think the society has every right to ask him to contribute towards bestowing simliar gifts on the generation.

            As an example, if we stopped funding fundemental physics research into at the time very abstract things such quantum mechanics as a society 100 years ago because people didnt want to pay, we wouldnt have transistors or lasers. Without those, the modern world would be a bit different. I think if we take advantage of things o
        • by toby (759) * on Friday October 17, 2008 @01:05AM (#25408839) Homepage Journal

          You remember - the unnecessary war of aggression, waged on false pretences, that most people* found abhorrent?

          (*counting non-Americans)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ericlondaits (32714)

            The world needs a war cookie jar... you can go off to war as long as you put a dollar in the jar for every dollar spent in warfare.

          • by mrcaseyj (902945)
            Calling Iraq a war of aggression is like saying that if there were some robbers holding tellers and customers hostage in a bank and they started killing the hostages, it would be aggression to send the SWAT team in to rescue the hostages from the criminals. Hussein was a murdering thieving criminal committing an ongoing crime against the Iraqi people. Invading Iraq was a legitimate action to rescue victims of a crime and take down the criminals. The US went in and established democracy and put the people ba
        • If I had the choice of spending six billion euros on a quest to unlock some of the greatest mysteries on earth, or spend $US700 billion bailing out overpaid bankers and their cash-poor customers, I know what I would choose.

          I thought that "spend $US700 billion bailing out overpaid bankers and their cash-poor customers" *ARE* "some of the greatest mysteries on earth".

    • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Informative)

      by Animaether (411575) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:51PM (#25407511) Journal

      "The total cost of the project is expected to be 3.2-6.4 billion.[15]" - wikipedia
      [15] = http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/03/god-particle/achenbach-text [nationalgeographic.com]

      Skimmed over the reference, page 6 states:
      "Some U.S. money has gone into the LHC, which will cost billions of dollars: five, maybe ten--the exact number is elusive (the science will be precise, but the accounting apparently follows the Uncertainty Principle)."

      Contrast that with, say, the Joint Strike Fighter program+purchases:
      "Total development costs are estimated at more than US$40 billion (underwritten largely by the United States), while the purchase of an estimated 2,400 planes is expected to cost an additional US$200 billion.[49]"

      • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Funny)

        by Attila the Bun (952109) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @09:53PM (#25407893)

        Contrast that with, say, the Joint Strike Fighter program+purchases: "Total development costs are estimated at more than US$40 billion (underwritten largely by the United States), while the purchase of an estimated 2,400 planes is expected to cost an additional US$200 billion.[49]"

        ...and if you arrange all those Joint Strike Fighters in a circle, the circumference is nothing like 27km. And they don't get anywhere near the speed of light. And they hardly ever collide.

        So all in all, the LHC is vastly better value for money.

      • You're wrong! The JSF and the LHC projects all fit in together.

        Once the acceleation of photons are complete, they will move up to increasinly larger objects. Two JSFs will go at 99% Speed of Light and collide. The blackhole created will allow the remaining 2,398 planes to roam the universe, setup 7-11's, drill for oil, collapse the housing markets, outsource labour, etc. etc. Same old, same old.

    • by afidel (530433)
      About a rounding error in the interest on the E2,000B the EU countries are spending bailing out their over-leveraged banks?
    • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @10:52PM (#25408239) Journal
      Wikipedia gives an estimate of 3.2-6.4 billion euro. That's not peanuts by any means; but it is actually pretty reasonable for a project of that scale. Cheaper than the Big Dig(Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff are to be avoided, as it turns out), and roughly the same as the saudi contract for 72 eurofighter typhoons.

      The LHC will definitely find itself on the chopping block if we go back to mud farming and cooking our food by burning witches; but it is pretty cheap for a science project of that scale and scope.
      • The LHC would have cost more if they tried to build it underneath Boston.

        There's the plumbers union, the steelworkers union, the garbagemen union, the police, MTA, and a few thousand Charlies to deal with. Not to mention the takeout shops being shut down for a few months at a time.

        But hey, they actually built a new Garden. So anything is possible in Boston. Even the Sox winning the Series again. Oh yeah... Well, the Pats winning a Super Bowl. Oh yeah... Well, the Celtics winning the NBA Championship.

    • by erlando (88533)

      How many billions of Euros have been spent on this project already?

      About 0.03% of the total EU GDP. In 2007 the EU seen as one nation had a GDP of 12.143 trillion Euro. The LHC costs a mere 4.4 billion Euro.

    • For better or worse, never underestimate the "communists"... China is just starting to gear up, and a major project that builds on, or stands tall alongside of, LHC will give China plenty of "face" in the world.

      Think they just want to spend money on the Olympics?

      The Chinese will pick up the slack and lead technology where large capital investments are required, again - for better or worse.
    • Re:Too bad (Score:4, Informative)

      by tenco (773732) on Friday October 17, 2008 @02:48AM (#25409277)
      The german government increased funding for CERN projects by about 90 million EUR for the next 3 years just a few days ago.
    • by feyhunde (700477)
      It's a volunteer project from many nations. The largest single fund giver is the USA.

      As for why to do it? Pure science breeds applied science breeds better lives. What will this project lead to if successful? I've got only a few glimmers.

      But projects like this have huge implications in applied science that are unforeseen. Particle accelerators created to answer questions like this are now used to create very specific isotopes that are otherwise too brief to be useful. These are the foundation of both

  • Bleah. Big hassle. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:32PM (#25407345) Homepage

    It's worse than I'd thought. They may have to pull quite a few magnets out of the tunnel for repair, and some sheered off their mountings.

    There's a lot of energy stored in those superconducting magnets. A magnet quench, where superconductivity is lost, is a violent event, even when the electrical safeties all work properly, as they did here. The magnet heats up suddenly, and boils the liquid helium. That blasts into the vacuum insulation cavity, setting off further quenches in nearby magnets. The pressures were high enough to blow out relief disks (as planned) and damage the vacuum valves to adjacent sections (not expected.).

    None of this is about the physics. It's all plumbing and electrical work.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "None of this is about the physics. It's all plumbing and electrical work."

      No, it's about overlooking a design flaw and going back to correct it. That's more engineering.

      But let's take what you said at face value--Are you kidding me? Forgetting that you are trying to dumb down something that is far more complex than you probably understand, much of plumbing and electrical work IS physics.

      On the magnet blow, the physicists designed the equipment in concert with engineers of various expertise. Clearly, som

      • by Zackbass (457384) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @10:05PM (#25407961)

        I don't really understand what point you're trying to make. A lot of plumbing and electrical work IS engineering. The engineers know that all their analysis tools are based on physics and it doesn't take a physicist to understand how the support systems work and how to analyze them. The design of the systems is NOT a physics experiment, all the phenomena at work were well pinned down before anyone even thought of making the LHC. This is an engineering problem just like the space shuttle is an engineering problem. Just because the engineers didn't account for a particular failure case doesn't mean that the underlying dynamics aren't known.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Animats (122034)

          I don't really understand what point you're trying to make.

          The point is that the damage is worse that originally reported. Early reports indicated that the connections to a magnet had failed and the magnet had quenched, without damage to the magnet. That by itself wouldn't be too hard to fix, and probably could have been done in place. But, as it turns out, there was considerable damage to other magnets and vacuum lines. All this is in an underground tunnel, so access is tough. Especially since the

    • At least this time was not a bad PHP script; the human race is improving.

    • by afidel (530433)
      None of this is about the physics. It's all plumbing and electrical work.

      A LOT of physics went into designing and modeling the most powerful magnets ever made. Heck at full strength they will be about as strong as the strongest fields within the sun.
    • If some of the consequences were unexpected, we now know far more about the energies involved in superconducting magnets when they quench. Our knowledge of physics at the extreme end of superconducting magnetism has lept forward by a considerable distance - quite literally, if it was placed on top of one of the magnets.
    • by g-san (93038)

      "It's all plumbing and electrical work."

      And here I was thinking it was like rocket science.

    • by cmorriss (471077) on Friday October 17, 2008 @01:50AM (#25409037)

      It's all plumbing and electrical work.

      Send in Joe the Plumber!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by chtephan (460303)

      Actually, the quenches themselves are not the problem, these are quite under control and during the so-called training campaign something that is even deliberately induced.

      The problem here is more a chain of unfortunate events, and something that wasn't expected during design.

      Basically what happened is:
      - faulty electrical connection caused the power supply to trip (i.e. detect some problem and shut down)
      - fast discharge was triggered as a consequence
      - during fast discharge the current couldn't be handled by

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:33PM (#25407351)
    Fools!!! Don't you see? LHC turns on, financial blackhole appears out of nowhere and sucks our banks dry! It's just like in the movies - it's the damned physicists, both at CERN and Wall St. Blood's on your hands, you cretins!
  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:33PM (#25407355) Homepage Journal

    What really happened is that the LHC destroyed the universe, but then put it back almost the same way as it was before, at least close enough that nobody noticed it.

    "But," I hear you ask, "how could the LHC put the universe back together from inside a universe that, speaking rather loosely, did not at the moment exist?"

    Well, an equivalent (from an observational standpoint) way of looking at it is that the LHC created a nearly exact duplicate parallel universe at the same time it destroyed the one it was currently residing in. However, it would be totally pointless to create an exact duplicate, otherwise how would you know you actually did it? So it ... left out a bit. Specifically the bit that was containing the liquid helium in LHC'.

    It really is one hell of a parlor trick.

  • Some interns were sucked into a black hole created by the experiment,
    but in any undertaking this complex you must expect some minor setbacks.

    So they soldier on with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the mission.

  • by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:37PM (#25407385) Journal
    If their machine opens a gateway to hell, I've dealt with that before... I forget where.
  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:44PM (#25407437)
    ... officials at CERN reassured the scientific community, in high, squeaky voices, that the helium leak will have minimal impact on the LHC program over the long run.
  • by actionbastard (1206160) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @08:53PM (#25407529)
    Was this [wikia.com].
  • Fortunately our Safety Inspector [photobucket.com] was able to assure us that the large electrical arcs and hole in the facility were perfectly okay.

    Thank god for that right!

    Pug

     

  • by Anonymous Coward

    (Intentionally) lost from the antiseptic description of events is a detailed description of what the tunnel actually looked like. Train Wreck. LHC dipoles were ripped from their stands and accordianed like a derailed freight train.

    The design flaw which allowed this to happen is a pretty big one; basically there's no "bypass" for current passing between magnets. There needs to be a safe path for current to flow around faults when you open the circuit in a big magnet system, otherwise you get an arc. Not

  • So they are not saying it was caused by a world gobbling black hole? I bet if they were asked, they would _deny_ it was caused by a black hole. So obviously the problem was caused by a black hole.
  • I found the idea of 'world gobbling' black holes entertaining but why stop at one? If you made more than one, would one consume the other? would they balance? I'm thinking about a car going oh, say the speed of light and you turn on the headlights; does relative time slow down or speed up? did that damned tree fall? is the cat dead? how did Alia get into her grandfathers head?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16, 2008 @10:45PM (#25408203)

    Overhead capacitors to one oh five percent. Uh, it's
    probably not a problem, probably, but I'm showing a small discrepancy in... well, no, it's well within acceptable bounds again. Sustaining sequence.

    • by Sockatume (732728)
      Even though there are lots of jokes about Black Mesa inbound, and the damage was anomalous, materials seem to be okay so they're not going to let those unforseen consequences bother them at the office. Complex and expensive science might mean that we've got hostiles who come to Slashdot to blast, pitting investigation against pragmatism, but when the CERN manages to completely power up those nay-sayers will be run out of town on a rail. There was some apprehension and the mistrust will hang around as a resi
  • ...it's still the Large Hardon Collider in my mind.

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