It was surprisingly difficult finding information about when LHC will restart again. Many will remember how much publicity it attracted around its switch-on time in September 09 – very soon to be followed by a total shutdown after major malfunction. Since then it’s all gone fairly quiet on this front.

Apparently, the fault was with a faulty electrical connection, which led to a leak of super-cold helium. The resulting damage was estimated at £20 million, but with other costs taken into account the total repair bill could be about £30 million.

 The Telegraph reported a week ago that “53 of the magnets used to accelerate sub-atomic particles around the machine’s 17-mile underground tunnel have had to be brought to the surface for repair or cleaning”. Since the fault was found, the collider’s fail-safe protection systems have had to be designed to prevent a similar thing happening again. Unfortunately this sounds as if insufficient time had been allocated to building mechanisms to prevent such problems before the go-live date. How embarassing this must be to Cern’s designers with the multi-million dollar budgets at their disposal!

This is the most recent article on LHC I could find. I guess we’ll be hearing more on the progress of repairs later this spring.

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