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Innovation

Bird with baguette 1; Big Bang 0

Call it the matchup between the Higgs boson and Murphy's Law. And a reminder that even the most visionary projects in the universe can be tripped up by small details.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer on

Call it the matchup between the Higgs boson and a bread crumb. And the bread crumb seems to have prevailed in this round.

The $6.5-billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland -- which is supposed to prove the existence of the Higgs boson, or "God particle," which gives matter in the universe its mass and simulate the Big Bang -- apparently was no match for a small bird with a bread crumb.

It seems the folks running the LHC had to postpone their plans last week to emulate the universe's Big Bang because of a piece of baguette. According to a news report, LHC -- "designed to recreate the conditions present at the beginning of time -- had to be switched off after a bird dropped a bit of baguette into it, causing it to overheat."

The bird allegedly dropped the bread crumb on a compensating capacitor – where the main electricity supply enters the collider – cutting power to the LHC during a test run.

Nice to see nature still knows how to keep us humble. The lesson is that even the most thoroughly and painstakingly laid plans -- and grandest visions (in this case, uncovering the origin of the universe) -- can be tripped up by the most unexpected and down-to-earth things. Then again, maybe more organizations could use birds with bread crumbs to make decision makers think twice about pouring money into mega-expensive black-hole projects.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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