Scientists working on the European Organization for Nuclear Research’s (CERN) Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have stated that the imminent restart of the LHC has been postponed because of a short-circuit in the wiring of one of the vital magnets.
The LHC, which is also the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, was due to restart later this week at much higher energies after a hiatus of over two years. However, the reopening of the machine has now been delayed.
CERN released a statement: “Current indications suggest a delay of between a few days and several weeks. A full assessment is ongoing, and a revised schedule will be announced as soon as it is known. The problem was a well understood issue, but it would take time to resolve it because the glitch was located in a cold section of the machine.”
The machine, which last operated in 2013, was closed for two years to undergo a refit. It was now expected to run, first for a two-month warming up period, during which beams of protons would begin circulating in the 17-mile ring of superconducting magnets, the collider is scheduled to recommence full-fledged operations in May.
Scientists at CERN then hoped that the juiced up collider, which functions by accelerating beams of protons and ions to near the speed of light, would give a glimpse of the unseen dark universe made of the mysterious ‘dark matter.’
Dark matter makes up about 96% of the stuff of the universe but can only be detected by its influence on visible matter around it.
CERN’s scientists have expressed disappointment at the last-minute problem, in just one of the underground machine’s eight sectors, which have been rewired and checked thoroughly during the closedown. However, CERN Director General Rolf Heuer has stated that the problem is not severe.
Heuer said, “All the signs are good for a great run 2. 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.”