Large Hadron Collider downed by faulty transformer

Not long after the world's largest particle collider became operational, a transformer that helps cool part it malfunctioned, forcing operations to be suspended.

Not long after the Large Hadron Collider was launched last week, the world's largest particle collider experienced a malfunction that affects its cooling operations.

Images: Where particles, physics theories collide
Click image for gallery on the Large Hadron Collider. Maximilien Brice for CERN

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, the organization that built the LHC, announced Thursday that a transformer that helps cool part of the collider had malfunctioned, forcing operations to be suspended.

As explained by CERN:

The transformer, weighing 30 tonnes and with a rating of 12 MVA, was exchanged over the weekend. During this process, the cryogenics system was put into a standby mode with the two sectors kept at around 4.5 K. Since the beginning of the week the cryogenics team have been busy re-cooling the magnets and preparing for operation with beam, which is currently forecast for today.

No word on why it took CERN so long to let us know about the malfunction, though.

The LHC, a massive particle accelerator 17 miles in circumference built along the French-Swiss border, is designed to help scientists explore particle physics theories.

However, it has also spawned fears that the experiments could that would swallow Earth, which have led to threatening phone calls and e-mails, CERN said.


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