'Big Bang Machine' Breaks Down

Sky News
Wednesday, Sept 24, 2008

The £3.6bn machine at the centre of the biggest scientific experiment the world has ever seen has broken down and will be out of action until next year.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, designed to re-create conditions cosmologists agree existed at the beginning of the universe, was switched on two weeks ago.

It fires beams of particles around a 16.8-mile tunnel at near light speed with the aim of smashing them in to each other to mimic the effects of the Big Bang.

The machine created a sensation around the world not just because of its record cost and scale but because of claims it might cause a black hole to form that would swallow the planet.

Those in charge of the project at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) dismissed the concerns.

Now, though, they have revealed that a large amount of helium leaked into the tunnel on Friday, forcing the particle accelerator to be shut down.

Full article here

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