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LHC Will Be Shut Down In 2011 Because of "Mistake" 183

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it dept.
astroengine follows up to a story about the LHC shutting down that seems to have hit all the news replicators today. "It's to be expected when pushing the frontiers of physics, but the LHC's epic 'will it or won't it' saga continues. Due to an unforeseen construction mistake, the LHC will cease experiments for a year (starting around late-2011) so repairs and upgrades can be carried out. For now, accelerated particles will have a maximum energy of 7TeV (half the power of the LHC's design maximum), which is ample for at least 18 months of experiments before shutdown."
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LHC Will Be Shut Down In 2011 Because of "Mistake"

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  • by dtmos (447842) * on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:04PM (#31427072)

    ... the article linked in the story starts off by debunking the submission.

    UPDATE (March 10, 12:45am PST): With thanks to Prof. Jon Butterworth, member of the ATLAS collaboration at the LHC, I've been informed that the plan to shut down the LHC for an extended period of time was actually announced in early February by Dr. Steve Myers [twitter.com] after the LHC Performance Workshop, in Chamonix, France. So rather than this being a sudden development, it is part of a planned shutdown.

    Prof. Brian Cox, also an ATLAS physicist, confirmed this fact via Twitter [twitter.com]:

    There is nothing wrong with LHC - lazy journalism. Schedule announced in Jan, 18 months physics, 12 month engineering shutdown afterwards.

    Cox pointed out that accelerator shutdowns are more routine [twitter.com] than the BBC article (the source of this blog post) suggests:

    ALL particle accelerators have 6 - 12 month regular shutdowns for maintenance and upgrades. That's how complex machines are operated!

  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:09PM (#31427148) Journal

    That Higgs Boson is finding more and more creative ways... Seems this time it went so far back as to flaw the LHC's design.

    How long do we have before it goes further back and destroys humanity?

    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by ircmaxell (1117387) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:19PM (#31427294) Homepage
      Well, there's an open letter to the Higgs Boson... http://abstrusegoose.com/118 [abstrusegoose.com]
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by istartedi (132515) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:38PM (#31427526) Journal

      How long do we have before it goes further back and destroys humanity?

      At least until yesterday.

      • MPU (Score:2, Informative)

        My kingdom for a mod point.

        • by xaxa (988988)

          My kingdom for a mod point.

          I have 12, and pretty good karma. (No adverts either!)

          How much is your kingdom worth? I'm sure we could come to some arrangement.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sorak (246725)

      That Higgs Boson is finding more and more creative ways... Seems this time it went so far back as to flaw the LHC's design.

      How long do we have before it goes further back and destroys humanity?

      If some time-traveling something doesn't want to be found, why not just send back a dead nuke with a note attached that reads

      Dear asshole:

              Leave us alone.

      Your truly,
      The Future

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      That Higgs Boson is finding more and more creative ways... Seems this time it went so far back as to flaw the LHC's design. How long do we have before it goes further back and destroys humanity?

      Oh, hell, now I have to write a sequel to this. [slashdot.org]

  • How is this news? (Score:5, Informative)

    by bucky0 (229117) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:09PM (#31427152)

    The plan for a while now was always to have a period of running at lower power/luminosity then a long shutdown to completely fix the error that caused the incident in 2008. Last december the plan was for a 5 month run this year and a year long shutdown, and they changed that in early february to a 18-24 month run and year long shutdown.

  • 2012? (Score:5, Funny)

    by jimpop (27817) * on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:09PM (#31427156) Homepage Journal

    I, for one, think they are just scared of being blamed for 2012. :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jolyonr (560227)

      However, if it's shutting down in late 2011 for 12 months, guess what it will back in operation just in time for!

      Jolyon

      • by Golddess (1361003)
        I've said it before and I'll say it again. The LHC will continue to be delayed for one reason or another until it finally goes fully operational on December 21, 2012, and destroys the world.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by 0racle (667029)
      Then they're doing it wrong. They're going to shutdown late 2011 for about a year. That means they should be up and running again around ...
      ...
      ...
      December 2012


      Be afraid. Gordon, you're needed in the experiment room.
    • Re:2012? (Score:5, Funny)

      by oracleofbargth (16602) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:37PM (#31427508) Homepage
      I know, I wouldn't want to be blamed for that movie either.
      • by rossdee (243626)

        There are worse End-of-the-world movies to be blamed for, Like the Day after tomorrow, and Armageddon

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      No, I'm afraid 2012 is my fault. I'm eligible to retire in 2012.

  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:11PM (#31427182)

    ...at least according to the article at the end of the supplied link. Quoting a Prof. Brian Cox, "ALL particle accelerators have 6 - 12 month regular shutdowns for maintenance and upgrades. That's how complex machines are operated!"

    Now, I know slashdot readers don't read the articles, and I've become accustomed to the editors not reading the articles, but this situation implies that even the submitter of the article didn't read the article.

    How is that even possible?

    Sounds like one of those recursive quantum anomalies the LHC is designed to unravel...

    • Like this:
      Someone sees headline
      They assume they know what is in the article, and in a panic frenzy to get slashdot cock waving rights, they just submit the story...probably by justs clicking on a button on the webpage.

      • by ianare (1132971) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:35PM (#31427480)

        Here's how many of my article submissions have gone :

        Reading the article, reading any associated articles and getting a good grasp of the event and technologies involved. Then carefully summarizing the article, linking to the main article and associated article, and providing reference links to Wikipedia. Finally creating an insightful, not overhyped, and clear headline.

        After submitting the story, refresh /. and seeing an abortion of a summary on the same story because the /. editors just picked the first one with an exciting headline.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Welcome to the new media, even worse than the old media. True, the tabloids have always been typesetting as if WWIII broke out every day, but at least inside the paper not every headline had to be this absurd brainteaser with extreme hyperbole or no relevance to the actual article. Now every article has to gain it's own ad clicks, and it doesn't matter if it's from "omg what a piece of shit, I can't believe I got suckered by it" or "wow, really great article. I got to bookmark this site" clicks.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          I haven't submitted a story since they idlized the submissions page (I use to have 1/3 of my submissions accepted when I was still submitting) so maybe things have changed in the last six months, but

          After submitting the story, refresh /. and seeing an abortion of a summary on the same story because the /. editors just picked the first one with an exciting headline

          wasn't true, at least six months ago. In fact, often I'd submit a story, have it rejected, and see the same story posted a week later. There's thi

      • by ozbird (127571)

        Like this:
        Someone sees headline
        They assume they know what is in the article, and in a panic frenzy to get slashdot cock waving rights, they just submit the story...probably by justs clicking on a button on the webpage.

        ... and a month later, when it is no longer news (for nerds or otherwise), the story makes the Slashdot headlines.

      • Someone sees headline
        They assume they know what is in the article, and in a panic frenzy to get slashdot cock waving rights, they just submit the story...probably by justs clicking on a button on the webpage.

        How about:

        Someone see headline, reads the article, decides this is important "news for nerds", and composes a Slashdot submission.

        The submission works its way through the queue and eventually gets accepted and posted.

        Before (or very shortly after) the Slashdot posting makes it through the queue, the ori

    • Sounds like one of those recursive quantum anomalies the LHC is designed to unravel...

      Actually, we've taken George Lucas' idea of a Death Star and built a giant Laser producing facility on the crust of our planet. Some minor set backs, of course, but we will have the power to destroy an entire planet soon enough. This whole "Quantum Physics" thing was just to get all the physicists on board, since most of them actually favour Star Trek.

    • by Shimbo (100005)

      Quoting a Prof. Brian Cox, "ALL particle accelerators have 6 - 12 month regular shutdowns for maintenance and upgrades. That's how complex machines are operated!"

      That is rather like a Formula One driver saying, "ALL cars need a complete engine overhaul several times a year."

  • doom (Score:3, Funny)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:13PM (#31427196)

    What this really means is that after scheduled maintenance of 2011 (which now includes bolstering against quench damage), the LHC will be slowly brought to full power in 2012. Reaching full power at the end of 2012. December 2012. Need I say more?

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      As silly as that sounds, that was exactly my first thought when reading the article as well.
      • by Coren22 (1625475)

        Would this be kind of like NASA with Apollo 13? Screw superstition, we will do everything we can to make it the worst possible time to teach the idiots to not be superstitious. Does Friday the 13th fall in Dec 2012?

        • by rubycodez (864176)

          they should target Dec 21 to get back on-line, end-of-the-world urban legend we've built up has way more scare value than old Friday the 13th which re-occurs quite often.

  • Not News. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pz (113803) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:13PM (#31427206) Journal

    As the linked article points out, this so-called news is just lazy journalism of a long-ago announced planned shutdown for routine maintenance and upgrading.

    This should never have made it to the front page here. Is it too much to ask that the editors at Slashdot at least GLANCE at the linked articles?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Is it too much to ask that the editors at Slashdot at least GLANCE at the linked articles?

      If Congresscritters can't be expected to read bills before they vote on them why would you expect editors at Slashdot to view articles before they make the front page?

  • the usual saboteurs from the future, trying to preserving their pathetic little doomed timeline

    • by rgviza (1303161)

      It can't be. You can't prevent doom, or else the doom would have never necessitated traveling back in time and you would poof. I know it's true, because I read it in wikipedia.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now we need someone to pipe up that if they used Agile Methodology when building the LHC, none of the design issues would have happened.
    • No... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Petersko (564140) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:29PM (#31427422)
      "Now we need someone to pipe up that if they used Agile Methodology when building the LHC, none of the design issues would have happened."

      If they'd have used the Agile Methodology it'd be working, but the particles would travel at 60 miles per hour, and the collisions would be recorded by a police sketch artist. Improvements would be scheduled for a future sprint.
    • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:31PM (#31427438) Journal
      Given the way Agile is usually implemented, it would have then made a detour under London before making it back to Switzerland. Kind of like the famous cartoon [wordpress.com]... especially the documentation part. Nice legs...
  • so sick of this (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tomp1000 (1364927)
    quite frankly i'm so sick of people critisising the LHC, especially the people at fermilab. firstly most people don;t know a damn thing about particle physics (this includes me but I have a relative expert on hand to answer my queries) unless you have some knowledge of beyond degree level particle physics or know someone who does quite well. KEEP YOUR OPINION TO YOURSELF.
    for those people (probablly americans) stop critising the LHC becuase its bigger than the accelerator at fermilab. thats like kids argu
    • by Dishevel (1105119) *
      Ummm. Calm yourself. At least to the point where you can once again start making sense.
    • Re:so sick of this (Score:4, Interesting)

      by earlymon (1116185) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @02:47PM (#31429174) Homepage Journal

      for those people (probablly americans) stop critising the LHC becuase its bigger than the accelerator at fermilab. thats like kids arguing over who has a better skateboard.

      Yes, it's exactly like that.

      You seem to not understand that our TVs, sound systems, sports cars and particle accelerators are simply the adult extensions of our skateboards.

      KEEP YOUR OPINION TO YOURSELF.

      Why? It's called freedom of speech - perhaps you've heard of it.

      You certainly seem to think that you have it, by virtue of the protocols you've issued.

      News flash - since the beginning of time people have freely expressed opinion without regard for fact - and this is never more true than when the speaker is convinced that they are expressing facts. Now, I wasn't around at the beginning of time, so far as I recall, but it's my opinion that that behavior has been occurring for at least that long and is therefore neither limited to Americans nor to Fermilab fans.

      My other opinion is that you're probably upset that Fermilab isn't in Europe and that you're simply jealous that you're missing out on all the fun.

      But you are providing plenty - for me anyway. This snippet is simply priceless:

      quite frankly i'm so sick of people critisising the LHC, especially the people at fermilab. firstly most people don;t know a damn thing about particle physics...

      Uh - ok - would those be the people at Fermilab that don't know a damn thing?

      BTW - my skateboard has something like 300 BHP, a gazillion ft-lbs of torque, and gets 21 miles per gallon when cruising at just over 100 miles per hour, when cruising that way for about 2 to 2.5 hours at a stretch. And as soon as I translate a gazillion ft-lbs into SI, I'll get back to you on what that means - or - I'll just wait for an opinion from Illinois on that.

      Meanwhile, in my opinion, this sounds pretty cool:

      http://www.fnal.gov/pub/today/archive_2010/today10-03-10Column_readmore.html [fnal.gov]

      And almost finally, in my opinion, I deserve extra crunchy mod points just for avoiding the whole bigger vs. keeping it up line of jokes in response to your post (which given that there is NO NEWS in TFA, makes your complaint even funnier).

      NOT IMPORTANT

      That's the worst sig ever. In my opinion, you should have a higher opinion of yourself, even if that current sig summarizes the opinions in your post perfectly.

      I think you should cheer up now and have a fabulous day, but that's just another one of my opinions.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      quite frankly i'm so sick of people critisising the LHC, especially the people at fermilab. firstly most people don;t know a damn thing about particle physics

      People at fermilab don't know a damned thing about particle physics? LMAO, Somebody please mod parent funny!

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      A lot of the people at Fermilab are LHC collaborators. They're helping build the LHC, and will use it when it is built. I haven't seen a criticism of the LHC from anyone at Fermilab. If there was, that person would presumably know bit about particle physics, since he or she works at one of the largest particle accelerators in the world.

      Is your post a bad "leave Britney alone" parody?

  • by buruonbrails (1247370) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:21PM (#31427330) Homepage
    It's one of the world's most ambitious projects. Not surprisingly, its construction and operation can be problematic from time to time.
  • LHC Forever (Score:2, Funny)

    by flagg9483 (940242)
    I hear that a level in the next Duke Nukem will take place in LHC facility. A PS3/360 trophy/achievement will be rewarded for finding the secret door to the main ring, repairing damage caused by mutated aliens, and escaping through a black hole created by incompetent CERN scientists.
    • by Coren22 (1625475)

      Personally, I expect it to show up in the next Half-Life episode, after all, Gordon was spotted there.

  • prevented this thing from blowing up the universe again? Man, this is worse than last night's "Lost" episode.

  • Resonance Cascade.

  • ""The standard phrase is that the LHC is its own prototype," Dr. Steve Myers, director of the particle smasher, told the BBC today.

    "Due to an unforeseen construction mistake"...

    Wind it up to 11, guys! What could possibly go wrong?

  • by WiglyWorm (1139035) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:33PM (#31427452) Homepage
    It will be late 2012 before the LHC gets to full power? Hmmmmmmmm.... Awfully forboding to me.
  • Once again, the timestream moves to protect itself. If they continue attempting to create Higgs-Boson particles at the LHC, we will find ourselves inhabiting an increasingly unlikely reality. Construction accidents, birds dropping baguettes into the particle beam, anything can happen to prevent this.

    Mark my word, something improbable will happen to the LHC near the end of this repair work.

    We should harness this power to direct the future time stream and create a drive that uses these disturbed probabilities

    • Should be easy enough, just build a universe destroying device that sets itself off unless what you want to happen happens. The hard part is making the probability of the device failing be less than the probability of whatever you want to happen randomly happening. Unfortunatly, considering that you teleporting to Mars is unlikely to happen over the course of several million universe lifetimes, that would have to be a pretty foolproof device.

    • Does this mean we're gradually increasing improbability in the universe? This would *so* explain Microsoft Windows.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        Are you saying Windows is very probable? Or are you confusing improbability with entropy?

        • No. No! Windows is so improbable that its difficult to fathom how it came about in a rule based universe.

          Admittedly Windows is a major factor in increasing the rate of entropy, but the relationship details are still unclear.

          • by omnichad (1198475)

            Increasing improbability makes Windows less likely.

            • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

              I think you're looking at his "increasing" differently than he is. As Universal Improbability increases, the probability of the probable decreases. Given the action/reaction principle, this means that the probability of the improbable increases.

              In other words, increasing improbability means a greater chance that the improbable will come to pass.

              Otherwise it would be impossible for anything unlikely to ever happen at all.

              • by omnichad (1198475)

                If you're increasing improbability, it makes it less likely for anything to ever happen at all. Universal or not, if you increase probability, everything is less likely.

                Sure, as you approach impossibility of anything happening, the probable's probability comes closer to probability of the improbable, but it doesn't increase the probability of anything happening at all. There's no set number of events that must happen. The minimum is zero.

                Wouldn't increasing improbability be the same as

                • by omnichad (1198475)

                  Oops. Typo. Second sentence should read: "If you increase improbability, everything is less likely."

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by IICV (652597)

      That's not how it works at all - we only experience the realities in which the LHC hasn't destroyed reality. All other realities have been destroyed, so we're not around to experience them. No timestream editing required.

      That's also why you aren't dead - you are not around to experience all of the realities in which you are dead, so you never will.

      On a more rational note: in order for unlikely events to happen, you need time and space. The more space you have, the less time it takes for something unlikely t

  • by PinchDuck (199974) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:41PM (#31427582)

    Then it will never stop.

  • That means 18 months of experiments at the highest particle accelerator power ever! Isn't that exciting?

    Who is most likely to find the Higgs boson then? The LHC, or the Tevatron?

  • Apparently by making the LHC work we will cause some disaster so time travelers from an alternate future make sure it stays broken so the disaster will not happen. That or God just doesn't want to be found.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      That or God just doesn't want to be found.

      Would you want to be found by people who hate you? He's easy to find, but first you have to accept the possibility that he exists, which is impossible for some people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @12:58PM (#31427810)

    As a physicist, all I can say is we've been asking for this kind of press.

    When you hype the bejeezus out of the shiny new multi-billion dollar tool, it's reasonable for the people who paid for it to expect results. It is jarring when people hear for over a decade about the great results that will come out of an experiment, and then later hear that we have to spend ~50% of the time doing maintenance on the equipment, and the first few years just testing it. I know this is the way things work, this is the way my (much, much smaller) experiments work. This is not a complaint about the science, or being careful. This is a complaint about politics, funding structures and a lack of ability across fields to communicate effectively with the general public. We can't keep doing this to ourselves if we want the public to trust us. We have to manage the media better.

    To begin with, the great achievement of the LHC *is* the LHC, not the search for the Higgs boson. It's enough that this is the most complicated, impressive, advanced piece of technology on the planet, and that it required input at the cutting edge from nearly every major field of physics. Just like the point of going to the moon was to go to the moon, not to bring back moon rocks.

    • The LHC got built, right? It's functioning, right? Mission accomplished, my friend.

      PR is not about being well-understood, it's about getting a desired, concrete result. The public is largely stupid and fickle. If you let little PR blips like this bother you, you'll never accomplish anything great. Ultimately if the LHC delivers new science, that is all anyone in future history will remember it for. It's aggravating to read bad press but most of it just doesn't matter over time.

      The space race and moon landin

    • by glwtta (532858)
      Just like the point of going to the moon was to go to the moon, not to bring back moon rocks.

      Well, ideally we wanted diamonds, or sherbet.
  • by HermDog (24570) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @01:11PM (#31427962)
    Now there's a crew who know how to make an unstoppable accelerator!
  • It's pretty obvious that what's happening is that every time they start it up at full power, it collapses the false vacuum and instantly destroys the universe. So the only versions of the state vector we can observe are the ones in which the LHC never ramps up all the way, because we've been destroyed in the rest of them...

    • by Spatial (1235392) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @03:01PM (#31429338)
      The LHC hits.
      The LHC hits.
      The LHC hits.
      Universe, your life force is running out.
      The LHC hits.
      The LHC hits.
      You die...
      Do you want your posessions identified?


      Goodbye Universe the universe...

      You died in the Multiverse of Doom after 13700000000000 moves, killed by a grid bug named LHC.

      You were level 300000000000000000000000000 with a maximum of infinity hit points when you died.
  • LHC Construction (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dripdry (1062282)

    I'm sorry, I don't have references, but someone was explaining to me that the parts and construction for the LHC are excessively shoddy. He mentioned the size of the magnets and, I believe, mentioned that they weren't really tested before being put in place. His beef was that the whole thing is basically just a huge money sinkhole and may not ever produce the kinds of results it promises.

  • it seems a number of them were hijacked by some pirates who have been distributing them to would-be journalists.

  • so the movie 2012 [imdb.com] was off by a year.

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