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Vacuum Leaks Lead To Another LHC Delay 224

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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  • ZOMG, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Icegryphon ( 715550 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @10:57AM (#28781911)
    This is like Duke Nukem Forever all over again.
    History might not repeat itself but it sure does rhyme.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      You wish this was like Duke Nukem Forever. "Vacuum leak" is clearly just G-man coverup speak for "resonance cascade"...
      • by Intron ( 870560 )
        Or maybe "formation of miniature Black Holes"
      • by noundi ( 1044080 )
        Haha just what I thought. What the hell is a vacuum leak!? I mean how can the absence of matter leak?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          You could leak matter *into* the some sort of crazy reverse-leak! That's it! The LHC is designed to manufacture anti-leak!
          • by treeves ( 963993 )
            You laugh but that is exactly what a vacuum leak is. Air or some other gas leaks in and ruins the vacuum. Happens in auto engines causing performance problems there too. In the LHC they need a really good vacuum so that those hadrons can get up to a high speed which they won't do if they collide with gas molecules.
            • by noundi ( 1044080 )
              Well Sherlock that is obvious. What's silly is the choice of words.
    • by Jurily ( 900488 )

      This is like Duke Nukem Forever all over again.

      The story or the development process?

    • Maybe history is repeating itself, if the first test they did caused some sort of temporal loop at the atomic level and that's what's been causing all the subsequent problems.

      • Maybe history is repeating itself, if the first test they did caused some sort of temporal loop at the atomic level and that's what's been causing all the subsequent problems.

        What, how many times? Dozens? Hundreds? You mean I've been working at the same job for over a century now, but only got about one year's worth of paychecks?! To hell with black holes destroying the Earth, that's nothing compared to this!

    • OK (Score:4, Funny)

      by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:13AM (#28782193) Homepage Journal

      I want to know where they hid the working LHC at.

    • 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.

  • *sigh* (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TooMuchToDo ( 882796 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @10:59AM (#28781943)
    As someone on the LHC/CMS experiment team, let me be the first to say "Argh."
    • At least... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:05AM (#28782039)

      ...the delay will mean the world lives on for 2 more months ;=)
      Ofcourse, A(H1N1)v will prevent the startup alltogether, as key personnel falls sick at the critical time ;)
      Then again, the sudden reappearance of sunspots on the sun probably means the super nova will come before even that happens
      Oh no, I forgot to take my pills !

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward


      Pirates! I knew it!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by GigsVT ( 208848 )

      You've already created a black hole though. It sucks in tax money which then promptly disappears, and nothing ever comes out of it.

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 )

      Ye be a pirate, then? Are you trying to start an ARGHument?

    • by bucky0 ( 229117 )

      As another person on the LHC/CMS team, let me say: "at least this gives us more time to break and refix things before first beam" .."Oh, you mean we need to change this code again? great."

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by drerwk ( 695572 )
      I understand this being /. most people think that argh is just a pirate term, since there are so many RIAA stories. In the context of Physics, which is what this post is about, argh is an SI unit of work done incorrectly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:00AM (#28781969)

    I predict the collider turns on in 2012.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:00AM (#28781971)

    Why oh why must you abhor a vacuum???

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:04AM (#28782019)

    ... soon they won't be able to stop them. It will be a hazardous vacuum spill, endangering all the surroundings of the LHC!!

  • by OglinTatas ( 710589 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:09AM (#28782123)

    I had a vacuum leak once and in less than 5 seconds my house, instead of just smelling like dog hair smelled like stale month old dog hair in a vacuum bag. I also learned to empty the bag more often.

  • I'll take the "over" bet on this one. It will not restart successfully until after June 1, 2010.
  • by drachenfyre ( 550754 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:17AM (#28782261) Homepage
    That sucks.
  • 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's way more important to make the experiment in a good way, above anything else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      More importantly, Gordon Freeman is apparently an engineer at CERN.

      No worries though, he has a crowbar [] now.
      • That's so awesome. Someone actually sent them a crowbar and CERN played along. Well, my last concern (that there were no crowbars at CERN for Gordon to use) is finally assuaged.

  • by lymond01 ( 314120 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @11:20AM (#28782319)

    To paraphrase, this guy is in the middle of a flooding city. He repeatedly refuses attempts of others to rescue him, claiming God will save him. He drowns, winds up in Heaven, and asks God why he didn't save him. "I sent you a two boats and a helicopter..."

    So I can see God now using his mighty and flagellant tendrils to tinker with the LHC's inner workings and yet we still press on, thwarting his every attempt to save the planet Earth and the life he created. I'm certain this will all end with a, "Okay, power it up!", followed by a surprisingly brief sucking sound as the world is drawn into a black hole of its own making.

    I can just see the look on his face...

  • the invasion from the Hive will be delayed a few more months. Good! We can look for the Tunnel-Makers' signal a while longer... (

  • Vacuum leaks? There's vacuum leaking OUT of the LHC?

    Holy crap! If this continues that monster could leak enough vacuum to completely cover the entire world, possibly destroying all life on Earth. How long are these madmen going to keep playing with dangerous things like vacuum before somebody puts a stop to it all?

  • at least if we believe Walter Wagner: TheDailyShow - LHC []
  • by PPH ( 736903 )
    I'd figured my finances based upon the world ending some time this summer. Now I'm going to have to figure out what to do with all those credit card bills I've been ignoring.
  • 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.

"You can have my Unix system when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers." -- Cal Keegan