Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science Technology

Hadron Collider Relaunch Delayed 223

Posted by kdawson
from the earth-gets-a-reprieve dept.
SpuriousLogic writes "There's been another delay in the schedule announced for getting the Large Hadron Collider switched back on — now it's September 2009, a year after it shut down due to a malfunction. Scientists had said they expected the $5.4B machine to be repaired by November 2008, but then pushed the date back to June 2009, before the latest delay."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hadron Collider Relaunch Delayed

Comments Filter:
  • by Zephiris (788562) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:07AM (#26795427)
    The article [bbc.co.uk] apparently fails to contain any full dates, and no years.

    See? This is why you always have to use four-digit years when specifying any date, even months, otherwise the 'software', *eyes original poster*, gets confused.
  • Re:Every night (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OolimPhon (1120895) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:37AM (#26795591)

    I'd rather the EU was spending my tax euros on something... like a new generation of nuclear reactors

    And don't you suppose the additional knowledge the LHC might provide would help us build better, more efficient reactors?

  • Re:Every night (Score:5, Insightful)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:38AM (#26795601)
    With an attitude like that, we'd still be using coal to heat our homes. Seriously, the money's already been spent, the staff is already on the payroll. The annual operating costs are a fraction of the construction costs. This being Slashdot, let's use a car analogy - you just bought a brand new Lexus for some serious, serious coin, but on the way home, you got a flat tire. Are you really not going to fix it in the interest of "saving money"?
  • Re:Every night (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @07:19AM (#26795817)

    Actually, a good businessman knows that money spent in the past is gone. There is nothing you can do about that. What happened in the past shouldn't dictate the decisions you are making right now.

    If we discovered right now that continuing with the LHC would be fruitless, then we should stop the project and stop spending money on it, regardless of how much it has cost us in the past.

    Of course this is not the case, and I agree that not performing research using the LHC would be extremely silly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @07:54AM (#26796029)

    Mod me up if you have the points. Taco *needs* to fire kdawson--things are REALLY sad.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @08:28AM (#26796295)
    Well, yes, I do still use coal. Owing to the design of my house and my use of an efficient, modern stove and ducting, I actually get better efficiency out of it than I do out of a gas boiler. So let's dispense with that argument.

    Now let's dispense with your other analogy. I know the (mostly under 30s) posting on Slashdot don't like my argument (troll? I think not) but I have actually had P&L responsibility for some serious manufacturing plant, and I think I know more about this than you do.

    Your analogy is completely flawed, because the LHC is nothing like a Lexus. A Lexus is a Toyota with a big price ticket, but we know what it does. You can read how fast it goes, how long it will last, you can test drive it. So it throws a tire. You know how much a new tire costs and it is didly squit compared to the cost of the Lexus.

    Now take a realistic analogy. Up till now all anybody has ever built is a small car. Now a load of engineers propose to build a racing truck. It will be larger, faster, heavier and more expensive than anything built to date. They can't actually tell you for certain whether it will work. They roll out the prototype, and it promptly breaks. They tell you it will be easy to fix...months turns into a year and you start to suspect that won't be the end of it. Did it break because the design was flawed? They can't tell you. Will it break again the same way? They can't tell you.

    If you were the VP engineering, you'd look at the other projects around that really could do with some attention, and you'd say "Why are we building this thing?"

    The argument below about Faraday is equally misguided (incidentally, I was once a member of the RI, and the alternative version of that story is that he told Wellington, asked what use it was "I know not, but I warrant your Government will tax it". Faraday was doing basic research that needed little more than blacksmith skills. If, in the Napoleonic Wars, he had suggested getting the best blacksmiths in England to work on a really big electromagnet, taking years, how far would he have got? Not very.

  • Re:Every night (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bodan (619290) <bogdanb@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @08:30AM (#26796301)

    Well, yeah, but they didn't build the LHC accidentally.

    They still need an accelerator bigger than the ones already running for the same reason they did before it broke. Just as someone who, presumably, wasn't driving (or owning) a car by accident when they got a flat tire. And the cheapest way to achieve those goals (better understanding of particle physics) is to fix the LHC.

    And anyway, you don't need to drive, you can just walk, or take a bus, or ride a bicycle. Which is the analogous physical alternative to not using the LHC.

  • So, you're angry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @08:42AM (#26796411)
    I don't think anybody is silly enough to think that the theoretical physics of today is the engineering of tomorrow. The timescales are much bigger than that. For how many years have workable fusion power sources been 20 years in the future? Since the 60s. (The hydrogen bomb dates back to the physics of the 1940s.) The really big successes of physics recently have all been in the field of small things - lasers, semiconductors, magnetic storage, imaging, radio,new states of matter. I doubt you can point me to a single piece of current engineering that has emerged from any particle collider research done in the last 40 years. Colliders are not conterminous with physics, you know. Some of the most exciting current research into things like condensed matter and slow light are basically table top.

    So in the actual timescales of these things, taking maybe 10 years out to get people working on some stuff we really need - I suggested nuclear and solar power, but I'm sure there are others - is likely to make no difference at all to progress in physics, but could have many benefits in terms of energy security and climate change.

    So, you're angry. But which of us is being shortsighted - someone who thinks resources should be deployed to ensure that we have the energy generating capacity to run things like colliders, or someone who thinks that identifying the Higgs Boson will suddenly revolutionise engineering?

    As for Faraday - see my reply above.

  • by bucky0 (229117) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @10:18AM (#26797585)

    Let's rock-

    Superconducting wires were a little-used oddity until the Tevatron (at Fermilab) caused enough demand to cause them to be commercially feasible to purchase a lot of it. After Tevatron got the wire it needed for magnets, GE (and others) used the newly developed manufacturing capacity to produce MRI machines. The research into superconducting wires and magnets has led to maglev trains and is being used to replace transmission lines in some instances (New York has a liquid nitrogen cooled superconducting transmission line). They're close to getting a formulation that doesn't use Yittrium (which is expensive). Considering ~half of the energy produced in a power plant (like your coal plants) are lost to resistive losses in transmission lines, it's good news for energy production.

    A number of accelerators use their beams for clinical applications. (Usually by bombarding patients with ridiculously high fluxes of neutrons). Many accelerators use their beams to activate radioactive materials which are then later used in cancer treatment.

    All the detectors used in high energy physics have _tons_ of uses ranging from medical applications to non-invasive scanning of cargo. Antineutrino detectors are used to verify that the cores of nuclear reactors haven't been tampered with.

    By using ultra-sensitive detectors looking at flourescent bubbles, we've been able to fix many errors in our ideas of fluid dynamics. These detectors would've been unfeasible without the research performed to produce an accelerator.

    Most of those things are things that were tangential to the actual goal of finding out the deeper mysteries of the universe, but just because people aren't going to build something out of the higgs boson, doesn't make the research worthless. If you looked at someone a while ago bombarding different metals with different wavelength X-Rays and called them an idiot, then you would've shut down the theory of electron bandgaps, the application of which is the foundation of all our modern conveniences.

    anyway, back to work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @10:39AM (#26797825)
    kdawson is a FUCKING IDIOT. Honestly. How hard can his job be? How difficult is it to pay SOME attention to details? I'm glad I don't pay for this site, and I'm glad I'm not giving them ad revenue.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

Working...