LHC to Resume Operation in Spring

A0050372.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- The world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator will be offline until next spring after a malfunction led to a large helium leak.

The Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said Tuesday the problem stems from a helium leak in one of the sectors of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

According to scientists, the leak was triggered by an electrical malfunction between two of the powerful magnets that help to power the LHC.

Researchers will have to bring the LHC from its operating temperature of 1.9 Kelvin, or minus 456 degrees Fahrenheit, up to planetary surface temperature, a process that will take between 3 and 4 weeks, in order to fix the helium leak.

“Coming immediately after the very successful start of LHC operation on 10 September, this is undoubtedly a psychological blow,” said a statement issued by CERN Director General Robert Aymar.

This is the second fault the Large Hadron Collider has suffered. On September 10 the LHC was started for the first time but had to be taken offline due to a problem in its cooling system.

The $10 billion device, which sits near the border of France and Switzerland, was designed to investigate dark matter, the big bang, and unlock the secrets of the universe.

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