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LHC Successfully Cools To 1.9K In Lead-Up To Restart 177

Posted by Soulskill
from the say-your-goodbyes-folks,-the-end-is-nigh dept.
Smelly Jeffrey writes "The BBC is reporting that the LHC has had all eight of its sectors cooled to 1.9 Kelvin. Their tagline is that it is now 'colder than deep space,' referring to the CMB. LHC engineers have spent nearly $40,000,000 USD on a new system to prevent the 'quench' condition that caused the LHC to be down for warming, repairs, and re-cooling over the last year. The LHC is now cold enough to begin colliding particles in search of the Higgs Boson. High power collisions won't be started until late December, or perhaps early January. However, a low-power beam through parts of the collider could be tested as early as next week!"
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LHC Successfully Cools To 1.9K In Lead-Up To Restart

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  • Cool! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Eric Smith (4379) <eric&brouhaha,com> on Friday October 16, 2009 @06:24PM (#29774209) Homepage Journal
    Time for my friends and I to throw yet another end-of-the-world party!
  • Then why are they spending all the energy to cool the things two months before it's needed?

    I don't mean this as a sarcastic comment. I'm genuinely curious.

    • They're doing low-power test runs. I managed in my brilliance not to notice either that paragraph in the article or the tagline at the end of the summary. /hangs head in shame.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StaticEngine (135635)

      If they do find the Higgs in January, they want to have a LOT of jello shots on hand.

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Friday October 16, 2009 @06:54PM (#29774419) Journal

      Then why are they spending all the energy to cool the things two months before it's needed?

      You mean they're spending like there's no tomorrow? Hmmmm.
             

      • I'm crossing my fingers for some newspaper to unthinkingly use the "black hole" analogy to describe the glut of spending..

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

          I'm crossing my fingers for some newspaper to unthinkingly use the "black hole" analogy to describe the glut of spending..

          At least with a black hole, if you're smart enough to stay away from the event horizon you'll be OK. We, on the other hand, are surely screwed.

    • by Goaway (82658) on Friday October 16, 2009 @07:31PM (#29774637) Homepage

      Because cooling a 27 kilometer long object to 1.9 K takes a lot of time. You can't just keep heating it up and cooling it back down again. You cool it down once, and keep it cooled permanently.

      Part of the reason this whole thing took so long in the first place was that it had to be heated up and cooled down again.

      • by igny (716218)
        You cool it down once, and keep it cooled permanently.

        Permanently is a relative term. Time flies differently near black holes.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Basically the thing doesn't work at all unless it's cooled. Once you get it cooled down you can start testing the various parts to make sure they work. Once you've done that you do an integrated, low power test where you circulate some particles and see if anything breaks. If not, you work your way up until you're at the designed power.

      It all takes quite a while.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      because cooling down a 31km long ultra high vacuum apparatus isn't like making ice cubes. You need to go section by section, sealing it off, baking and pumping it to remove contaminates, then slowly cooling it to temperature. My groups apparatus takes up only half of a room and it took us weeks to bake and bring to temperature.
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Because cooling something to near absolute 0 is not something you can do over night for a multitude of reasons, one of the primary being that there is SO LITTLE energy IN something at 1.9k that it takes a very long time before it bleeds into something else so that it can get cooler.

      Remember 'cold' is just 'not hot'. Heat is energy, hotter is more energetic. When you get to 1.9k the atoms are barely vibrating and there is nothing around for the atoms to bump into to transfer the heat energy off it and into

  • by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Friday October 16, 2009 @06:33PM (#29774281) Homepage
    We need to get rid of all these extra hadrons that have been piling up since the accident.
  • by David Gould (4938) <david@dgould.org> on Friday October 16, 2009 @06:35PM (#29774291) Homepage

    Has the LHC destroyed the Earth yet?

    NO [hasthelhcd...eearth.com]

    Good. Carry on.

  • Wrong summary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16, 2009 @06:43PM (#29774343)

    "LHC engineers have spent nearly $40,000,000 USD on a new system to prevent quenching condition that ..."

    No,

      1. it is not to prevent quenching, it is to allow helium to escape properly. Superconductors will at some point in their life quench or lose superconductivity. This happens for various reasons though most are due to insufficient cooling, like the last case.

      2. Couldn't this say $40,000,000 USD (FORTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) to be more dramatic?

    • by hezekiah957 (1219288) on Friday October 16, 2009 @06:55PM (#29774431)

      2. Couldn't this say $40,000,000 USD (FORTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) to be more dramatic?

      It's European, not Nigerian.

      • > It's European, not Nigerian.

        Ok, 26.800.000,00 (TWENTY SIX MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND EUROS)

    • 2. Couldn't this say $40,000,000 USD (FORTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) *places pinky finger at corner of mouth* to be more dramatic?

      Fixed that for you ;-)

    • by meringuoid (568297) on Friday October 16, 2009 @08:08PM (#29774853)
      2. Couldn't this say $40,000,000 USD (FORTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) to be more dramatic?

      And couldn't they tell us the cost in euro? I mean, that's the unit in which the LHC is budgeted. Why convert into some volatile foreign currency? Let us know the actual figure, and if we live outside the eurozone then we'll convert into our own local currency by ourselves, thanks.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Because, like it or not, regardless of the condition of it, the world STILL revolves around it at this point in time. If you wanted it in the original currency, wouldn't you want it in Francs, not Euros

    • by syousef (465911)

      2. Couldn't this say $40,000,000 USD (FORTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) to be more dramatic?

      You'd prefer they imply the reader is innumerate?

  • Destroy the Earth by creating a massive black hole? Nope, not yet...

    • Destroy the Earth by creating a massive black hole? Nope, not yet...

      Actually, it would be a piddelingly small black hole if it was only the mass of the Earth.

  • The Large Hardon Collider [today.com] is designed to pump various types of hardon up to huge energies before banging them together. However, many concerned citizens without the personal experience or understanding of what hardons do worry at the idea of the large hardons being sucked deep into a black hole.

    The device will push large, energised hardons through a ring repeatedly, faster and faster, as smoothly and tightly as possible, until they clash and spray matter in all directions. “It’s nothing that cosmic rays don’t do all the time all over the place,” reassured a particularly buff scientist. “It’s perfectly right and natural.”

    Low-energy hardon physics and the temperature dependence of hardon production are well understood, as is the process of a hardon smoothly entering the nucleus. But some question what may happen at greater, hotter energies.

    Church leaders have come out at the device. “They’re the same polarity!” said Pope Palpatine XVI. The Church worries that strange matter may recruit normal matter and turn it strange.

    The Large Hardon Collider was to launch last September, but this has been delayed due to inexplicable and ill-timed failure to get a beam up. “I’m so sorry,” stammered a scientist, “this has never happened to us before.”

  • it was nice knowing you

    • Evening CTS (from K5),

      While we're on the topic, I would like to point out that if you subscribe to the infinite universe theory (or the infinite parallel universe theory aka multiverse), there are an infinite worlds where the LHC *DOES* produce a black hole and destroy all humanity, so your trolling may not be far off.

      That probability is small, but according to those currently researched theories, world destruction by the LHC has happened before, will happen again, is happening now, and we could just be on
    • I refuse to believe, 3 years after seeing the original sig, that you are still making a movie :-)

  • by pem (1013437) on Friday October 16, 2009 @08:53PM (#29775085)

    LHC Successfully Cools To 1.9K In Lead-Up To Restart

    Doesn't seem very cool to me, in any commonly used temperature scale!

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @12:00AM (#29775765) Homepage

    Actually, the whole system is getting close to 1.8K, but some magnets aren't quite down there yet. [web.cern.ch] About 2/3 of the ring has cyro authorization (cold enough to power up the magnets) but the magnets haven't been energized yet. All the magnets have to be powered up. Then comes low power beam testing and alignment. Then maybe they can do some science.

    There are supposed to be two big fixes in place now. First, the quench protection system now covers not just the magnets, but the connections to them. (The basic idea is that if a superconducting magnet ceases to be superconductive at some hot spot (in which case all the energy in the magnet comes out as heat), the system dumps the energy into resistive loads, and heats up the entire magnet quickly to make it resistive, so that the energy is dumped throughout the magnet, not just at the hot spot. Last time, a hot spot developed at a welded splice. Second, the venting system for dealing with the gaseous helium released after a quench has been improved, with bigger rupture discs. Last time, the vents weren't big enough, and there was substantial damage to the cryogenic plumbing.

    None of this has anything to do with the physics. It's all plumbing and DC power control.

    The original design documents say a quench is supposed to be recoverable within three hours. That was rather optimistic.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      It should also be noted that these guys are doing work on things that have never been done on this scale before. Most of it has been done on a smaller scale at other colliders, but any time you do something for 'the first time', something is going to go wrong.

      This is why its called experimentation and not something else like 'paint by numbers'

      Personally, I think they fact that they built this damn thing and got it working as quickly as they did as well as it did the first time around is DAMN IMPRESSIVE.

  • I predict they will discover the Higgs-Boson particle, aka "The God Particle", on December 21, 2012.

    Shortly thereafter the flux of strange quarks created at the same time will cause the fabric of the Universe to reformat to its original state, just like last time. Thus bringing the end of our world and the beginning of the next cycle as predicted by the Mayan callendar.

    Or maybe it will be more of a "Silent Earth" scenario. (Google it, I'm too tired to link it myself, its bedtime)
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      will cause the fabric of the Universe to reformat to its original state

      Well, at least that will get rid of that incorrect apostrophe in your signature line. Whew!
      • @!#($*&#&$ grammar Nazi!!!!! ^_^

        Seriously, Thanks for pointing that out. If my sis-in-law (a writing instructor) had found that first I may have never heard the end of it. :)
    • Well hey, the Silent Earth scenario seems pretty groovy!

      An intoxicating mix of mellow dance and ambient soul... [silentearth.co.uk]

      The earth reformatted, not so much. Unless... I head for the boot sector!

  • It'll send a message back through time and stop itself!
  • i've been waiting for this ... dont ask why.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington

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