'Big Bang Machine' restarts after 14 months of repairs

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London, November 21 (ANI): The Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest atom smasher, dubbed the 'Big Bang Machine', has been re-started after a 14-month hiatus for repairs.

"Progress on restarting the machine went faster than expected on the evening of November 20 and the first beam started circulating in a clockwise direction around the machine about 10 pm," James Gillies, spokesman for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, told the Telegraph.

The machine, which was designed to smash together beams of protons in a bid recreate conditions after the Big Bang, was launched with great fanfare last year.

But, just nine days after the launch, it suffered a spectacular failure from a bad electrical connection.

Fifty-three of 1,624 large superconducting magnets - some of them 50 feet long - were damaged and had to be replaced.

An electric arc punctured the container holding the liquid helium used to keep the collider at a temperature colder than outer space for maximum efficiency.

Six tons of helium leaked out, overpowering the relief valves and adding to the damage.

CERN had to clean "soot-like dust" from the firehose-size pipes meant to contain an extreme vacuum so that nothing would obstruct the proton beams passing through.

"It was a disaster, no question about it," said Chip Brock, a physics professor at Michigan State University.

But he said CERN had taken a number of innovative steps to avoid a repeat.

"This problem won't happen again," he said.

"It's great to see beam circulating in the LHC again," said Rolf Heuer, CERN's director-general.

"We've still got some way to go before physics can begin, but with this milestone, we're well on the way," he added. (ANI)

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