Archive for the ‘helium’ Tag

Problems at the LHC

A super magnet thingy like this is having liquid helium type problems.  Or something.

A super magnet thingy like this is having liquid helium type problems. Or something.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experienced it’s first technical problem less than a day after becoming operational when a transformer failed. “This is arguably the largest machine built by humankind, is incredibly complex, and involves components of varying ages and origins, so I’m not at all surprised to hear of some glitches,” said Steve Giddings, a physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

And there are glitches–plural. Scientists have now detected a helium leak in the Collider’s cooling system. The liquid helium is used to keep the machine’s 1600+ superconducting magnets at just 1.9 degrees kelvin. To effect repairs, the components in question will first need to warm up again and, once the fix is made, they’ll need to be cooled down again before the LHC can be brought back online. This will take approximately two months.

So, maybe that’s why we’re all still here. But if you want to find out if the Large Hadron Collider has destroyed the world yet, a helpful webisite has been set up that will tell you: http://www.hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/ Check it out to see if you’re still here.

Hopefully the collider is fixed soon so we can find out why matter has mass, if there are more than three spacial dimensions, and all sorts of other cool stuff.