Restart of big particle collider delayed to November

July 30, 2009 18:01

Repairs to two small helium leaks in the world's largest atom smasher will delay the restart of the giant machine another month until November, a spokesman for the operator said Thursday. James Gillies said an additional setback to the timing could result if some other problem is found, but the European Organization for Nuclear Research is taking measures to ensure that it avoids another major shutdown like the electrical failure of September 19. The organization, which is known as CERN, has nearly finished examining the 10,000 electrical interconnections like the one that failed in September. Originally CERN said it expected to start test collisions in April, but that start up date has been pushed back several times already, most recently to October. If a November start holds, it will still take until December for the accelerator in a 17-mile (27-kilometer) circular tunnel under the Swiss-French border to start producing collisions of subatomic particles. At this point, physicists be able to probe deeper into the makeup of matter.

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