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‘Big Bang’ machine shut for 2 months
Published on 22 Sep. 2008 1:05 AM IST
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Huge particle-smashing machine built to simulate the conditions of the ‘Big Bang’ that recreated the universe has malfunctioned and may be shut down for at least two months, the European Organization for Nuclear Research said on Saturday. An incident on Friday resulted in a large helium leak into the tunnel. Preliminary investigations indicate the most likely cause of the problem was a faulty electrical connection between two magnets. , the organization said. “Strict safety regulations ensured that at no time was there any risk to people,” it said. “A full investigation is underway but it is already clear that the sector will have to be warmed up for repairs to take place. This implies a minimum of two months down time.” Earlier this month international scientists celebrated the successful start of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) machine located in the tunnel on the Swiss-French border. When the LHC starts up at full speed, it will be able to engineer 600 million collisions every second, with protons travelling at 99.99% of the speed of light around its 27-km underground chamber.

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