The Large Hadron Collider, Cern's particle accelerator straddling the border of Switzerland and France, is due to shut down for a major upgrade later than expected, after managers concluded that the current rate of operational improvements could reveal new physical phenomena.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a mammoth tool best known for its search for the Higgs boson and other elements of subatomic physics. Until recently, Cern had planned to shut down the LHC at the end of 2011 to make an upgrade; now that plan has been pushed back.
Cern has tripled the amount of data it can gather in 2011 compared with 2010, which leads to "tantalizing hints" that new physical phenomena could be observed at the current operating level of 3.5 tera-electron-volts (TeV), Cern said in a statement yesterday. "However, to turn those hints into a discovery would require more data than can be delivered in one year, hence the decision to postpone the long shutdown," Cern said. Thus, only a short technical pause is planned for the end of 2011.
For more on this story, read Hints of new physics postpones LHC upgrade on CNET News.