London, March 30 (ANI): Reports indicate that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which has been dubbed the 'Big Bang Machine', has encountered some glitches in starting up its operations.
According to a report in The Telegraph, initial attempts on Tuesday were unsuccessful because problems developed with the beams, said scientists working on the massive machine.
That meant that the protons had to be "dumped" from the collider and new beams had to be injected.
"It's a very complicated machine and we have ups and downs," said Michael Barnett of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "Right now we have a down," he added.
Two beams of protons began 10 days ago to speed at high energy in opposite directions around the 27-kilometer (17-mile) tunnel under the Swiss-French border at Geneva.
The beams were pushed to 3.5 trillion electron volts in recent days, the highest energy achieved by any physics accelerator - some three times greater than the previous record.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, is trying to use the powerful superconducting magnets to force the two beams to cross, creating collisions and showers of particles.
They could have been successful immediately, but such huge machines can be so tricky to run that it could take days.
When collisions become routine, the beams will be packed with hundreds of billions of protons, but the particles are so tiny that few will collide at each crossing.
Steve Myers, CERN's director for accelerators and technology, describes the challenge of lining up the beams as being akin to "firing needles across the Atlantic and getting them to collide half way."
He said that the problems on Tuesday started with a power supply that tripped and had to be reset.
The second time, the system designed to protect the machine shut it down.
"That was likely to have been a misreading by the system rather than any basic problem," said Barnett.
The Large Hadron Collider was launched with great fanfare on September 10, 2008, but it was sidetracked nine days later when a badly soldered electrical splice overheated, causing extensive damage to the massive magnets and other parts of the collider some 300 feet (100 meters) below the ground.
It cost 40 million dollars to repair and improve the machine so that it could be used again at the end of November.
Since then, the collider has performed almost flawlessly, giving scientists valuable data in the four-week run before Christmas. (ANI)