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LHC To Idle All Accelerators In 2012 117

sciencehabit writes "Particle physicists and science fans everywhere knew that the European particle physics laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland, would shut down the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest atom smasher, for all of 2012 for repairs. Many expected that the shutdown would stretch to more than a year, which CERN officials confirmed today. But most probably did not expect CERN to idle all its other accelerators at the same time, shutting down a variety of smaller projects and forcing hundreds of scientists not working on the LHC to take an unanticipated break in data taking. The longer shutdown could be a chance for US scientists working on the Tevatron at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, if researchers there can persuade lab management to keep the machine going instead of shutting it down in 2011 as currently planned." Reader suraj.sun notes other CERN news making the rounds right now about plans for the International Linear Collider, a 31-kilometer-long collider designed to complement the LHC. Construction on the ILC could begin as soon as 2012.
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LHC To Idle All Accelerators In 2012

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  • by Facegarden ( 967477 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @03:36PM (#33035350)

    You're comparing apples and oranges. All of these big experiments have things they need to get to get worked out before they're running at their design strength. That's the problem with building machines that are their own prototypes.

    I can't speak for all of them, but the detector I work on has been performing excellently (all its detector subsystems, etc..). There was a flaw in some of the accelerator magnets of the main LHC ring, and it needs to be fixed, which involves warming up and cooling down the magnets (which takes 3 months each eway)

    Fermilab, by comparison has been running for something like 20 years, they did their shakedown phase a long time ago, and now they're tuned to run optimally. It's the lifecycle of these things.

    You're totally right, but I wish the planners took that kind of thinking into account. They all said this would be up and running 5 years ago, for much less cost than it has accrued.

    http://public.web.cern.ch/press/PressReleases/Releases1996/PR09.96ECouncil96.html [web.cern.ch]

    That was from 1996, so I understand this stuff changes, but it *always* goes over time and over budget. Can't the planners be a bit more realistic? Right now you're saying "look, these things happen," but before they said "these things won't happen." At least, i feel like thats how it goes. I haven't been too involved so someone let me know if I'm wrong.

    I guess the politicians are weary enough and these things are hard to get funding for, so people want to over promise a bit, but it just leaves a bad taste in people's mouths.

    Personally i think this stuff is worth way more money than wars and bailouts and whatnot, so I'm not complaining about the funding, i just think that these things constantly going over budget is the whole reason politicians are reluctant to buy in in the first place!

  • by localman57 ( 1340533 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @03:38PM (#33035386)

    That was from 1996, so I understand this stuff changes, but it *always* goes over time and over budget. Can't the planners be a bit more realistic?

    The planners who give realistic budgets never get their project built. The money ends up going to the guy who gave an unrealistic budget, an the illusion of a much better value.

  • Re:kraft dinner (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mea37 ( 1201159 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @04:09PM (#33035810)

    wonder how many boxes of Kraft dinner i could buy with the money they spend on any TWO of the various r&d efforts over the centuries that led to a world in which it's possible for me to cheaply buy a box of Kraft dinner

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford