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The Hadron Collider

"What would happen if...?" has always been a staple of Science Fiction. What do you wonder about?

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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby nightlock » Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:29 am

Silvanus wrote:My personaly opinion is.. we're going to collide this stuff and the particles are going to turn into something lame like stuff we already know about and everyone's gonna be like, what a waste...


By definition those particles are not lame. Likewise, we should not give up after the first try only registered exciting exotic particles we already knew about. And even if they only register known particles, they might observe new behaviour of said particles giving greater insight, no matter what happens.
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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby Boikat » Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:58 am

According to an article, the LHC uses something like the equivelent of 60,000 high end PC's to process the information. I did some digging and found that the 60,000 PC are linked to a central controller/processor computer affectionatly known as the JCN-10,000 or, as the guys call it, "Jason". It's a pretty sophisticated piece of work, actually, and uses some pretty cutting edge controls and interfaces. It's so cutting edge that it utilizes a quazi-semi intelligent form of AI to controll the incomming information from the 60,000 PC, and at the same time, make the minute adjustments to the current being provided to the constriction magnets and transformers.

After the breakdown, the technicians were actually able to pin-point the problems almost immediatly without having to look for the lights of the battery powered bright red flashing warning lights, or BPBRFWL's (Pronounced "Barfels" or sometims simply "Barfs"), as they are known in the trade. They simply asked "Jason" where it hurt. Jason replied "My framis is deshikling, and my oompha is coilated."

And that was all there was to it. Now, it did take some time to go through the troubleshooting code book, since the power had gone out, but they were aided by the light given off by the BPBRFWL that was located near the lead technicians work desk, and also, conviently located next to the malfunctioning transformer.

Afterwards, they asked "Jason" if he knew what had happened. Was it a surge in current? Had they inadvertantly triggered a hadron collision by mistake,and accidentally created the much feared "black hole" or "stragelette" that was feared would end the world, or possibly the whole universe? But all Jason would say was that he felt that he was under too much pressure, and would like nothing more than a bit of a "nappy poo and some pudding".

The technicians are still going through the error code book to find out what that means.
"I reject your reality, and substitute my own!" Adam Savage, Mythbusters
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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby Qray » Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:58 am

Boikat wrote:...he felt that he was under too much pressure, and would like nothing more than a bit of a "nappy poo and some pudding".


Don't we all.
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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby The Master » Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:37 pm

Swings his jug o' rum at Jason, dowsing the computer array with liquid as it shatters mightily.

Arrg...not THATS what I call a collision matey!

Spins on his peg leg and barrels his way out the door pushing aside a half dozen crying scientists why little puffs of smoke trail out of the computer's casing.
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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby Boikat » Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:08 pm

Of course, this causes a re-boot, and Jason re-awakens with it's memory wiped, and after a bit of self reflecting determines his purpose, fires up both the clockwise and counter clockwise rings and as they build to full power, and just before closing the shunt to cause the two streams to collide says, (a la, the bomb's computer in the movie "Dark Star") "In the beginning, there was darkness. So I say, 'Let there be light...'."
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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby Silvanus » Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:14 am

OOPS they broke it?

via "yahoo"

GENEVA – The world's largest atom smasher — which was launched with great fanfare earlier this month — has been damaged worse than previously thought and will be out of commission for at least two months, its operators said Saturday.

Experts have gone into 17-mile (27-kilometer) circular tunnel housing the Large Hadron Collider under the Swiss-French border to examine the damage that halted operations about 36 hours after its Sept. 10 startup, said James Gillies, spokesman for CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

"It's too early to say precisely what happened, but it seems to be a faulty electrical connection between two magnets that stopped superconducting, melted and led to a mechanical failure and let the helium out," Gillies told The Associated Press.

Gillies said the sector that was damaged will have to be warmed up well above the absolute zero temperature used for operations so that repairs can be made — a time-consuming process.

"A number of magnets raised their temperature by around 100 degrees," Gillies said. "We have now to warm up the whole sector in a controlled manner before we can actually go in and repair it."

The $10 billion particle collider, in the design and construction stages for more than two decades, is the world's largest atom smasher. It fires beams of protons from the nuclei of atoms around the tunnels at nearly the speed of light.

It then causes the protons to collide, revealing how the tiniest particles were first created after the "big bang," which many theorize was the massive explosion that formed the stars, planets and everything.

Gillies said such failures occur frequently in particle accelerators, but it was made more complicated in this case because the Large Hadron Collider operates at near absolute zero, colder than outer space, for maximum efficiency.

"When they happen in our other accelerators, it's a matter of a couple of days to fix them," Gillies said. "But because this is a superconducting machine and you've got long warmup and cool-down periods, it means we're going to be off for a couple of months."

He said it would take "several weeks minimum" to warm up the sector.

"Then we can fix it," Gillies said. "Then we cool it down again."

CERN announced Thursday that it had shut down the collider a week ago after a successful startup that had beams of protons circling in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions in the collider.

It was at first thought the failure of an electrical transformer that handles part of the cooling was the problem, CERN said. That transformer was replaced last weekend and the machine was lowered back to operating temperature to prepare for a resumption of operations.

But then more inspections were needed and it was determined that the problem was worse than initially thought, said Gillies.

The CERN experiments with the particle collider hope to reveal more about "dark matter," antimatter and possibly hidden dimensions of space and time. They could also find evidence of a hypothetical particle — the Higgs boson — which is sometimes called the "God particle" because it is believed to give mass to all other particles, and thus to matter that makes up the universe.

Smaller colliders have been used for decades to study the makeup of the atom. Scientists once thought protons and neutrons were the smallest components of an atom's nucleus, but experiments have shown that protons and neutrons are made of quarks and gluons and that there are other forces and particles.

The LHC provides much greater power than earlier colliders.

Its start came over the objections of some who feared the collision of protons could eventually imperil the Earth by creating micro black holes — subatomic versions of collapsed stars whose gravity is so strong they can suck in planets and other stars.
-Silv
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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby Dark Knight » Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:14 pm

Cartoon: Recruiting for the Large Hadron Collider

toon50.jpg
toon50.jpg (30.48 KiB) Viewed 3763 times


4:00AM Monday Sep 22, 2008
By Guy Body
NZ Herald
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/news-cartoons ... d=10533415
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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby Dark Knight » Tue Sep 23, 2008 4:11 pm

has been damaged worse than previously thought and will be out of commission for at least two months, its operators said Saturday.


Make that "out of commission until next spring"

Particle collider now offline till spring
Faulty wiring forces 'Big Bang' machine down for a long winter's nap
By Sharon Gaudin

September 23, 2008 (Computerworld) Problems continue to plague the world's largest particle collider, as physicists today disclosed that a faulty electrical connection has knocked it offline until next spring.

The news comes just days after CERN, as the European Organization for Nuclear Research is known, said the faulty wiring would only have the Large Hadron Collider out of sevice for two months.

The organization released a statement today noting that it will need to investigate the issue further and do repairs. The repairs are unlikely to be completed before the project enters its "winter maintenance" period, the statement said.

"Coming immediately after the very successful start of the LHC operation on 10 September, this is undoubtedly a psychological blow," said CERN Director General Robert Aymar, in a statement. "Nevertheless, the success of the LHC's first operation … is testimony to years of painstaking preparation and the skill of the teams involved in building and running CERN's accelerator complex. I have no doubt that we will overcome this setback with the same degree of rigor and application."

CERN first reported last Friday that an electrical connection between two magnets melted, causing a "large helium leak" in the tunnel. CERN said that "at no time was there any risk to people."

As part of the investigation, technicians will need to bring the affected area of the collider's tunnel to room temperature and the involved magnets will have to be opened for inspection. After the work is complete, the entire area will need to be recooled.

This latest problem comes about two weeks after a faulty transformer was replaced in the machine. The transformer went down the day after the collider's first test run, when a particle beam shot fully around the 17-mile, underground vacuum-sealed tube. After that, another beam was shot around the tube going in the opposite direction.

These tests are a buildup to the time when two beams will be shot around the tube in opposite directions on a collision course. Smashing the beams together will create showers of new particles that should re-create conditions in the universe just moments after its conception, giving scientists the chance to answer one of humanity's oldest questions: How was the universe created?

Last week, prior to the wiring problem, the collision test was expected to take place in a matter of weeks. Now, it will be pushed back until at least next spring.

from http://www.computerworld.com/action/art ... ws_ts_head

"winter maintenance" period??? But they have hardly done anything with it, and it needs maintenance already, for all winter???
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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby Dark Knight » Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:39 pm

[highlight=#BFFF40]A 6 Month Wait![/highlight]

One bad connection caused atom smasher shutdown
8:58AM Tuesday Oct 07, 2008

GENEVA - A poor soldering job on one of 10,000 connections is the most likely cause of the failure that sidelined the world's largest atom smasher just days after the new collider was launched with great fanfare, a senior scientist said yesterday.

"It is very probable that there was a connection that wasn't good," said Lyn Evans, project leader of the new Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Nuclear Research Organisation.

Evans said the source problem was small.

"It happens quite often in electrical connections," he said, adding that he thought the fault resulted from human error on one electrical connection.

Only one fault in 10,000 isn't bad, "but it cost dearly", Evans said.

It halted operations for at least two months, which meant that the collider cannot be restarted until spring, after the obligatory shutdown for the winter because electricity prices are too costly.

Evans says he still hasn't been able to examine the damage because the collider is still too cold to be opened up.

The problem stems from the need to operate the machine near absolute zero to take advantage of the much more efficient use of electricity at "superconducting" temperatures colder than outer space.

The damaged section of the collider has to be warmed gradually to room temperature over five weeks so that humans can work inside and make repairs, Evans said. Then it will take another five weeks to re-chill it.

Before the failure, the plan had been to step up power on the collider so that scientists could start with test collisions of subatomic particles before the winter shutdown.

That will have to wait until next April, Evans said.

He said he expected it will then take a maximum of one month - the end of May - to get the machine to high energy.

"It was a hard blow for us," he said.

It was the final test of the collider - a large tube running around the circumference of a 27-kilometre circular tunnel under the Swiss-French border at Geneva. All the other seven sections of the tunnel had passed the test.

"But that's life," Evans said.

The collider was started before a global audience on September 10, with beams of protons being fired at nearly the speed of light around the collider, first in one direction and then in the other.

The electrical fault occurred nine days later.

CERN specialists have already figured out that a connector between electromagnets failed and heated up, causing a magnet "quench", or shutdown.

It apparently melted a hole in the tube, causing a leak that spilled about a ton of the liquid helium used to chill that section.

The collider's use of superconductivity - the ability of some metals to conduct electricity without any resistance near absolute zero degrees - allows for much greater efficiency in operating electromagnets that guide the beams of protons until the particles collide with each other.

The shattering of the protons in the collisions helps scientists to understand better how they are made and how they make up everything and everyone in the universe.

Evans said he looked forward to getting the collider going again.

"It is a jewel, this machine," Evans said.

- AP

from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/ne ... d=10536216

"Only one fault in 10,000 isn't bad", Isn't bad? lets see five weeks to warm it up, then repair it, then five weeks to cool it down, 10 weeks at least, that sounds pretty bad to me.

6 months to wait until April, and then this bad boy will get going again....
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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby The Master » Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:10 pm

Remember how an O ring that cost like $1 was what made the space shuttle explode?

Yep.
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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby nightlock » Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:04 am

1 in 10.000 isn't bad. The consequences are.

1 faulty weld in 10.000 that's a 0.01 % failure rate which isn't bad at all. It's extremely easy to say that it SHOULD not happen, but it will. We are all merely humans and therefore prone to failure and no matter what way you look at it, if we all had a failure rate of 0.01 % the world would be a whole lot better. Most of us barely make 1% failure rate.
The fact that it had dire consequences is simply bad luck.

Even the most reliable systems made have failure rates, no matter how many checks, fixes and balances you make, there's ALWAYS a chance it will fail. And the lower the rate of failure the more likely a failure will have dire consequences.

You can get angry or sad at the fact that the program is delayed by 6 months because of one faulty weld, or that lives were lost because a one dollar O-ring was substandard, but it's of no use. You can say that it SHOULD not happen, but it will. Nothing is perfect. Even DNA replication has failure rates.
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Re: The Hadron Collider

Postby Dark Knight » Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:55 pm

yes one fault in 10,000 is not bad,

BUT now the wait will last until the end of [highlight=#FFFF80]September[/highlight]

Large Hadron Collider start-up delayed again

GENEVA - Additional safety features being added to the world's largest atom smasher will postpone its start-up until the end of September, a year after the $10 billion (NZ$19.24bn) machine was sidelined by a simple electrical fault, the operator said.

The cost of the repairs and added safety features has yet to be determined, but it will be covered by the regular budget of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, spokeswoman Christine Sutton said.

The 20-nation organisation, known as CERN, has said previously that repairs will cost at least 25 million Swiss francs (NZ$41.5 million), but the amount appears to have risen since scientists could review the extent of the damage and devise new safety features.

more here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/science/news/ ... d=10556150
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