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Europe's LHC To Run At Half-Energy Through 2011 194

quaith writes "ScienceInsider reports that Europe's Large Hadron Collider will run at half its maximum energy through 2011 and likely not at all in 2012. The previous plan was to ramp it up to 70% of maximum energy this year. Under the new plan, the LHC will run at 7 trillion electron-volts through 2011. The LHC would then shut down for a year so workers could replace all of its 10,000 interconnects with redesigned ones allowing the LHC to run at its full 14 TeV capacity in 2013. The change raises hopes at the LHC's lower-energy rival, the Tevatron Collider at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, of being extended through 2012 instead of being shut down next year. Fermilab researchers are hoping that their machine might collect enough data to beat the LHC to the discovery of the Higgs boson, a particle key to how physicists explain the origin of mass."
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Europe's LHC To Run At Half-Energy Through 2011

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  • by DougF ( 1117261 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:40PM (#31018268)
    at (apparently) no one being fired for designing interconnects that only allow the LHC to run at 1/2 power? I may not be a scientist, but shouldn't a design cover the requirements? Then, to lose a year's work on top of that, and no one is getting their wrist slapped or even sued?
  • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:45PM (#31018304)

    The Big Deal about the LHC isn't just the energy. It's also that it allows for a much higher collision rate than the Tevatron. Even if you only run the thing at Tevatron energies, it's possible that it can collect as much data in a week as the Tevatron could in years.

    When the LHC guys down the hall show up tomorrow I'll have to ask them about the planned luminosity in the first year of running.

  • by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:47PM (#31018314)

    It's no one's fault really. It's just the Higgs Boson once again [newscientist.com] making sure that cern never uncovers its Cthulhu like existence.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:05PM (#31018430)
    Well, since you ask, potential future applications include tractor beams and antigravity. Theoretically.
  • by biryokumaru ( 822262 ) * <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:21PM (#31018522)
    And hyperdrive [slashdot.org].
  • by godrik ( 1287354 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @12:21AM (#31018826)

    If the LHC was designed properly, run the friggin' thing. If not, fix the friggin' thing.

    Did you RTFA? That's exactly what they're doing. It takes time to come up with a proper fix, but while you're coming up with something, why not use the thing? Even at a fraction of its energy, the LHC is the most advanced accelerator in the world. It would be a shame to just let it sit there.

    Without even counting that running it will stress some other hardware and uncover some other potential problems.

  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @01:27AM (#31019156)

    Compromise is critical part of engineering - one of the reasons that "no compromise engineering" adverts are so silly. You can always make something better if you are willing to spend more money. You can improve one parameter if you are willing to give up on another. For example airliners are designed with something like a 1.5X safety factor on strength (above maximum loads). If the safety factor was 2X, probably a couple of in-flight break-ups would have been avoided, but the overall cost of air travel would increase dramatically.

    If Apollo had a higher safety factor, 3 astronauts would not have died - and we might never have gone to the moon. One of NASA's difficulties these days is that people are demanding higher safety, and that makes space more difficult and expensive.

    In hind sight it is easy to see where the safety factor should have been increased, but that isn't fair. You don't know in advance which part will fail, so you try to design critical systems to similar safety factors.

    Sometimes you get it wrong - but even that is a trade-off in engineering costs. Additional engineering reviews take time and money - and may eliminate the project, or reduce its capabilities.

    I am aware of another large accelerator project - the Next Linear Collider. Unless you are in the field you probably haven't heard of it. That's because the design was too expensive and it will never be built.

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday February 04, 2010 @03:46AM (#31019714) Homepage Journal

    Thank you very much, you explained it well and I understand more now.

    Wouldn't a quench have a huge back-EMF associated with it as the field collapses? I don't see any alternative but for much of that energy to go through the coil-bar circuit and heat the coil up more.

  • Re:Damn... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:49AM (#31020488)

    Actually it does consume energy when circling around. A particle accelerating causes it to emit some energy, proportionnal to the square of the acceleration.

  • Europe? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thurman ( 265627 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @08:37AM (#31020986)

    Nice to see that when something goes wrong, it becomes 'Europe's' LHC. I thought CERN was an international thing.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.