London, May 4: The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is the biggest atom-smashing machine ever built, is almost ready to run again.
The LHC straddles the borders of France and Switzerland and is operated by CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva. It is designed to simulate the 'Big Bang', which started the universe 15 billion years ago, by smashing sub-atomic particles together at energies never before achieved. But, it suffered a catastrophic malfunction soon after being switched on last Sep amid a fanfare of publicity.
In the accident in Sep, a weld between two sections of the superconducting wire failed. In the minutes after the accident, several tonnes of liquid helium used to cool the magnets vaporized, creating a pressure build-up that wrenched magnets from their concrete stands.
As a result, 53 of the magnets used to accelerate sub-atomic particles around the machine's 17-mile underground tunnel had to be brought to the surface for repair or cleaning.
Now a report in The Sun says that the last of 53 replacement magnets have been lowered into the LHC, which stands in a 16-mile tunnel on the Swiss-French border.
Reports indicate that the massive machine would be ready by autumn this year.
Through experiments at the LHC, physicists hope to find the elusive 'God's Particle' - Higgs Boson - which would explain the existence of mass.