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By 25 March 2015 | Categories: news

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If you are wondering what the deal is with the restart of the Large Hadron Collider, word from CERN is that run 2 is coming ever closer, but that it has hit a delay. Seven of the machine’s eight sectors have successfully been commissioned to the 2015 operating energy of 6.5 TeV per beam, and the eighth is not far behind. There will, however, be no circulating beam in the LHC this week.

An intermittent short circuit to ground in one of the machine’s magnet circuits was identified on 21 March and is under investigation. According to CERN it is a well understood issue, but one that could take time to resolve since it is in a cold section of the machine and repair may therefore require warming up and re-cooling after repair. “Any cryogenic machine is a time amplifier,” said CERN’s Director for Accelerators, Frédérick Bordry, “so what would have taken hours in a warm machine could end up taking us weeks.”

Current indications suggest a delay of between a few days and several weeks. A full assessment is in progress, and a revised schedule will be announced as soon as it is known. CERN believes that whatever the case, the impact on LHC operation will be minimal since 2015 is a year for fully understanding the performance of the upgraded machine with a view to full-scale physics running in 2016-2018.

“All the signs are good for a great run 2,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “In the grand scheme of things, a few weeks delay in humankind’s quest to understand our universe is little more than the blink of an eye.”


Image credit: Views of the LHC tunnel sector 3-4, tirage 1, CERN Document Server, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

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