Let's smash some atoms!
The Large Hadron Collider is back on track for trial collisions this week, after a glitch with the cooling system, Times Online reports.
Once the two beams had been inserted into the LHC ring last Wednesday, the next task was to “capture” them so that protons could be fired in neat pulses or “bunches”. One of the beams had been captured by Friday, but work was then interrupted by the loss of electrical transformers that power the cryogenic cooling system, which chills the LHC’s superconducting magnets to 1.9C above absolute zero. Laurent Tavian, head of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) cryogenics group, told The Times yesterday that the faults had now been fixed. Engineers could proceed with “capturing” the second beam, allowing for collisions within days. “The plan is now to capture the second beam, and once both beams are ready and captured we can start to do collisions,” Dr Tavian said.