News of the WeekParticle Physics

More Bad Connections May Limit LHC Energy or Delay Restart

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Science  31 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5940, pp. 522-523
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_522

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Last September, the world's highest-energy particle smasher—the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC—mangled itself when a splice in a superconducting electrical line melted and set off a chain reaction of mechanical failures. Since then, physicists at the European particle physics laboratory, CERN, have installed exquisitely sensitive warning systems to monitor the delicate splices and head off a similar catastrophe. Now, however, researchers have found flaws in different electrical connections that will limit the LHC's energy. The problem could delay the planned November restart of the gargantuan accelerator.