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Vacuum Leaks Lead To Another LHC Delay 224

Posted by Soulskill
from the doomsday-averted-once-more dept.
suraj.sun tips this story at ZDNet about a new problem with the LHC. Quoting: "The restart of the Large Hadron Collider has been pushed back further, following the discovery of vacuum leaks in two sectors of the experiment. The world's largest particle collider is now unlikely to restart before mid-November, according to a CERN press statement. The project had been expected to start again in October. To repair the leaks, which are from the helium circuit into the insulating vacuum, sectors 8-1 and 2-3 will have to be warmed from 80K to room temperature. Adjacent sub-sectors will act as 'floats,' while the remainder of the surrounding sectors will be kept at 80K, CERN said in the statement. The repair work will not have an impact on the vacuum in the beam pipe. CERN has pushed back the restart a number of times, as repair work has continued. To begin with, scientists said the LHC experiment would restart in April 2009. In May, CERN [said] that the restarted experiment could run through the winter to make up some of the lost time."
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Vacuum Leaks Lead To Another LHC Delay

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  • Great (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:00AM (#28781965)

    It's now what, a year behind the schedule they'd set after the explosion? CERN is looking worse and worse.

    It's really too bad that the congressional Democrats killed the competing Superconducting Supercollider way back in 1994. It's not just a matter of national pride, really. The world simply can't afford to have only one of these machines. The delays have been a tremendous setback for the species as a whole. We are losing years in the progress of our knowledge of physics, the most important science of them all.

  • Re:Worrisome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thenextstevejobs (1586847) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:03AM (#28782011)

    What's worrisome is that these same scientists who can't seem to build this thing without some fatal flaw are the same scientists telling us there's nothing to worry about when they create a black hole.

    Sorry if I'm missing intended humor in your post but that just doesn't make any sense.

    These are construction flaws. The fact that the black holes they may be able to create are not a threat has nothing to do with any sort of special containment. It's simply that the size and level of energy is no where near enough to last even nanoseconds.

    The ignorance about the dangers of particle accelerators is disconcerting.

    By the way, if you want a good look at modern physics, read Brian Greene's "The Fabric of the Cosmos". Really good read.

  • by master_p (608214) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:17AM (#28782263)

    For an experiment of such magnitude, a delay of a few years is not very important...it's way more important to make the experiment in a good way, above anything else.

  • Re:*sigh* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by krakelohm (830589) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:30AM (#28782459)
    No its just you, I think you just attract the assholes like a big asshole magnet, might as well embrace it because I see no end to your asshole magnetism.
  • by mcgrew (92797) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:37AM (#28782555) Homepage Journal

    Why nobody was able to find any alien civilizations yet ?

    That's because of a number of factors.

    1. There may in fact not be any; it's possible that life (and the conditions that cause it) is so rare in the universe that only one in a hundred galaxies has produced it
    2. It's too far away to talk to. No other civilizations farther than a little more than 100 light years away would have been able to pick up any EMF we transmitted
    3. The signals we/they transmit are likely too weak to detect
    4. It's possible that we haven't discovered their form of communication, while they haven't discovered ours
    5. They may have seen our violent history (or their own) and are afraid to communicate with us. If I was them, I'd be scared, too.
    6. They may not even realize we are alive (their form of life is likely to be more bozarre than we can imagine)
    7. Our own hubris - many (most?) people don't realize that other species on our planet do in fact think, feel, and communicate. It's only recently that science has discovered that other species do in fact communicate
    8. They may be so advanced that we're just not interesting to them

    If present science are so sure about all possible consequences of creating black holes using Large Hadron Collider or any collider that size, than why any expirements needed ?

    Because for a hypothesis to become a theory, it must be tested. That's how science works.

    How people that are not "against science" can guarantee any HollyDolly mother, that she's childs are in safe place

    There is no such thing as absolute safety. Your "1%" chance enormously overestimates the chances of a black hole swallowing the earth. We're not talking about a pea sized black hole (which would have a mass as great as a mountain), but an infinitessimal mass measuring the same as a few atoms, at most.

    Information can enter black hole but can't escape.

    See, the problem is calling these tiny singularities "black holes". Wikipedia's definition of "black holes" excludes these things. There is a vast difference between a gnat and an elephant, even though both are animals. There's no magic about black holes swallowing light; in space an object must have enough mass to collapse on itself to create a black hole, if I remember correctly it's about the mass of a thousand suns.

    You have far more dangerous things to worry about, driving your kids to the store for instance.

    Further reading about black holes. [wikipedia.org] Further reading about the LHC. [wikipedia.org] Further reading about Micro black holes [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:ZOMG, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nametaken (610866) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:46AM (#28782703)

    "This is like Duke Nukem Forever all over again."

    Hopefully Hubble. Plagued up front, hugely successful later on.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:47AM (#28782709) Homepage

    This is why movies have producers. It's to keep the artists in check. Someone should have kept the brains in check when they designed this thing. Instead of being smaller and useful, it's just a gigantic waste of money -- the Waterworld of the scientific community.

    Yes, and we should dismantle Hubble and replace it with an army of hobbyist astronomers with a 100$ telescope. They won't find anything new except maybe a few near-earth asteroids, certainly no exoplanets and all the other interesting stuff happening. Same with LHC, if you wanted any particle accelerator I think we had an electron one in high school science class. We could play with it forever but I doubt we'd ever get any more results on the standard model and the higgs particle. Experimental science of this kind is all about building the most sensitive equipment you can - it's complex, expensive, obsoleted by the next generation but it's the only way to do science and not guesswork.

  • Re:Worrisome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Werthless5 (1116649) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @12:36PM (#28783383)

    You're sort of incorrect here. Yes, we built the LHC to probe a new energy regime. However, much MUCH higher energy collisions occur in the atmosphere every day. If we could place multimillion dollar particle detectors like ATLAS and CMS in the atmosphere, we would.

    So you could say that we know what definitely will not happen; the world will not be destroyed. I have proof: we're here today to discuss the subject. Since the Earth has been around for some billions of years and these types of events are fairly regular, I'd suggest that there is no chance of the LHC destroying the world.

  • by Werthless5 (1116649) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:04PM (#28783831)

    His comments and criticisms reveal only that he knows very little about particle physics. For instance,

    "Obviously, a elementary particle has a predefined shape and size that cannot be adjusted and that leads to an issue with an efficient packing arrangement to create a micro-blackhole"

    This makes no sense from any perspective.

    His harshest criticism is that we're not certain what the equivalent cosmic ray energy would have to be in order to produce the same center of mass energy as the LHC. He's completely wrong. This is an elementary number that any grad student would be able to calculate given the same conditions.

    More fun quotes

    "'(d) cosmic rays are incapable of producing micro-blackholes due to the distribution of forces during collision', or '(e) relativistic particles striking non-relativistic particles do not exhibit the same behavior as relativisitic only collisions. "

    (d) Wrong, because you can always perform your calculations in the rest frame of either proton and get the same answers. Also, Newtonian physics don't work at these length scales

    (e) Wrong again for the same reasons. The difference between fixed target experiments (we've built several) and colliders (LHC) are well understood, and at the energies we're discussing the mechanics are nearly identical. The real difference, that the particles are produced closer to rest in the LHC, is already mentioned in the LHC design documents

  • Re:Worrisome (Score:4, Insightful)

    by radtea (464814) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:50PM (#28784601)

    What's worrisome is that these same scientists who can't seem to build this thing without some fatal flaw are the same scientists telling us there's nothing to worry about when they create a black hole.

    No, what's worrisome is that the murderous idiocy of self-serving show-offs is so persistent.

    How many people do you have to kill before you'll stop promulgating this stuff?

    An emotionally unstable teenage girl in India killed herself because she was so terrified that the world was going to end when the LHC turned on. I assume you're extremely pleased with that outcome, as it is the only concrete effect that the efforts of people like you to propagate this vicious nonsense has had.

    Proud of yourself?

  • by mcgrew (92797) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:57PM (#28784727) Homepage Journal

    Yes, right now the tevatron [wikipedia.org] at Fermilab [wikipedia.org] is superior to the LHC, and it's half as big as your 12 km and most likely as complex as the LHC. It may in fact be years before the LHC comes on line, but I have no doubt that it will come on line.

    The LHC will tell us things that the Tevatron can't when it does come on line. It will be well worth the wait.

  • Re:Worrisome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:27PM (#28785225) Homepage

    They're attempting to create black holes. There aren't "controlled circumstances" for that outside of "We'll keep it really cold and we'll only make little ones."

    No, they're not. And "Controlled" means an environment where they know that the only collisions are the one they create, and where the impact occurs in a vacuum surrounded by large amounts of highly sensitive detectors. The "uncontrolled" version happens constantly, yet here we are. Hard to comprehend, I know, but not surprising for someone who probably thinks that keeping it cold is related only making small black holes instead of huge ones.

    The spirit of Stanley Milgram lives on very strongly in the LHC community. Not only are you all worshipping the ignorant as "knowing what they're doing" but you're arrogant about it as well. They're hypotheses include extra dimensions! How much more proof do you need that they aren't operating on "well-tested, documented, and understood physics"?

    How much more proof do I need that you have no idea what you're talking about? None. The Higgs Boson that they're looking for is predicted by the Standard Model, for your information, not that this factoid would mean anything to you.

    Like I said, I DON'T think they'll destroy the world. My bet is that they'll see the effects of a neutron bomb inside the LHC -- but I'm not pretending to KNOW what the odds are when I run a physics experiment that's strung up on metaphysical mathematics.

    That's delicious irony there. You don't pretend to know what the odds are, even though if you could follow some pretty simple logic you could at least upper-bound the odds as being exceptionally small. Yet you do pretend to have any clue whatsoever about the physics these guys are using when you are as ignorant as a newborn babe. And of course ignorance begets arrogance, and you think your lack of understanding qualifies you to say the scientists don't know what they're doing, and make better predictions of the outcome than they. Neutron bomb, heh. I'd love to see your reasoning, assuming it's any different than your guess that it might possibly produce ice cream, i.e. "When you don't know anything, anything is possible!"

    So keep up the ironic trolling, it's hilarious.

  • Re:Worrisome (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @02:32PM (#28785295)

    Wrong.

    The purpose of the LHC is to provide better evidence for the theories we have. We *KNOW* collisions at these energies occur in our upper atmosphere. We've seen them. Now we just want to see them up close to see all the effects that are too small to detect from far away.

    We know a LOT more about what will happen in the LHC than your ridiculous comments imply.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @05:09PM (#28787815) Homepage

    Think about what it takes to work on that thing. It's in a long underground tunnel of rather small diameter for what's in there. Fixing stuff in place is difficult and hazardous. Removing a magnet involves disconnecting everything (a big deal; some of the connections are welded and superconducting), lifting the magnet onto a narrow carrier that runs on the walkway (no idea how that's actually done) and inching the carrier for kilometers to one of the two big vertical shafts where it can be hoisted out vertically. As an underground maintenance job, this is not fun.

    The canceled American SSC was designed with a larger tunnel diameter. The LHC was designed with the assumption that not much magnet maintenance would be required, which cut costs but turned out to be a bad assumption.

  • Re:ZOMG, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by treeves (963993) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @09:46PM (#28790509) Homepage Journal
    Hang around in a garage (where they work on cars, not where they park them) or a physics lab and you'll hear it often. Saying "vacuum leak" does not mean that vacuum leaks. By your reasoning, I should not be allowed to say "vacuum pump" either, since you pump the air out, you don't pump the vacuum. Tell me "vacuum pump" is bad English too. Go ahead.

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