Monday, November 23, 2009

LHC Back Online

Scientists at CERN turned the Large Hadron Collider back on and injected protons into the particle stream on Friday, resuming operations for the first time in a year.

Last year, shortly after it became operational for the first time, the LHC experienced a failure in one of the containment magnets that keeps the particles within their track and going around in circles. Because of the tremendous forces required, these magnets are extremely powerful, and if they become misaligned by even a tiny amount, they can fail catastrophically, destroying themselves.

That's what happened last year, and resulted in repairs and replacement of the magnet. It took a while to complete the repairs because the LHC is kept at a brisk -271°C and had to be warmed up slowly, repaired, and cooled back down slowly, but the work is finally done and science is once again underway at the world's most powerful particle collider.

And, in case you hadn't noticed, it still hasn't destroyed the world.


FrankLivingFully said...

Hi Matt, I like your posts. They are not too long and get right to the point. You are doing a good job of covering important science stories. Had almost forgotten about Branson's commercial space venture. I remember reading that the LHC's big project was trying to find the Higgs Boson to confirm current particle physics theory. Have you found a good blog which reports on developments in physics? Keep it up ok. It takes a long time to get found in the blogosphere. Love your content.

My blog: FrankLivingFully on (sign-up required for carepages) has provided new friends and a wonderful support group for me. (a science librarian who became suddenly and unexpectedly disabled.) Pacing the posts has been the most difficult job for me. I subscribed to your great blog here.

Matt Metcalf said...

Thanks for the kind words, Frank. I wish I had more time to cover things. I took a new job about 16 months ago, and my volume of posts dropped off considerably.

I had a couple of blogs that I followed to keep up-to-date with news on science and technology, and it seemed like they all stopped posting, so I tried to pick up the slack by briefly summarizing the news. It worked until I got super-busy.

There are a number of great blogs out there still, but most of them seem to be focused on just one or a few areas specifically of interest to the author (space, biotech, energy, etc.). I try to be more general whenever possible.

That said, in terms of physics blogs, I was a big fan of Jennifer Ouellette's Twisted Physics blog, but Discovery has combined all of their blogs and space/science news into a single location so you have to hunt for the specific materials you're looking for there now. Also, arXiv has a great blog on the Technology Review site.

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