[/caption]It may seem that the delay is getting longer and longer for the restart of the LHC after the catastrophic quench in September 2008, but progress is being made. Repair costs are expected to hit the $16 million mark as engineers quickly rebuild the damaged electromagnets and track down any further electrical faults that could jeopardize the future operation of the complex particle accelerator.
According to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the Large Hadron Collider will resume operations in September. But the best news is: we could be seeing the first particle collisions only a month later…
If, like me, you were restlessly awaiting the grand LHC “switch-on” on September 10th, 2008, only to be disappointed by the transformer breakdown the following day, but then buoyed up by the fact LHC science was still on track, only for your hopes to be completely quenched by the quench that explosively ripped the high-tech magnets from their mounts on September 20th, you’ll probably be weary about getting your hopes up too high. However, allow yourself a little levity, the LHC repairs are going well, potential faults are being identified and fixed, and replacement parts are falling into place. But there is more good news.
Via Twitter, one of my contacts (@dpodolsky) hinted that he’d heard, via word of mouth, that LHC scientists’ optimism was growing for an October 2009 start to particle collisions. However, as of February 2nd, there was no official word from CERN. Today, the CERN Director General issued a statement.
“The schedule we have now is without a doubt the best for the LHC and for the physicists waiting for data,” Rolf Heuer said. “It is cautious, ensuring that all the necessary work is done on the LHC before we start-up, yet it allows physics research to begin this year.”
So, the $5 billion LHC is expected to be restarted in September and the first experiments will hopefully commence by the end of October 2009. It may be a year later than when the first particle collisions were planned, but at least a better idea is forming about when the hunt for the Higgs particle will recommence…
Source: CNET Cutting Edge