Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

CERN shuts down Large Hadron Collider

Two-year upgrade planned for machine that has never run at full power

Article comments

The Large Hadron Collider, which discovered what is believed to be the elusive Higgs boson, is being shut down for a two-year overhaul.

The shutdown began Wednesday, according to CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, which operates the facility. The collider won't run any particle collisions until 2015 although the CERN lab is set to be back up in the second half of 2014.

The collider, which has been called "one of the great engineering milestones of mankind," was built to explore concepts like the Big Bang theory, dark matter and the Higgs boson. Smashing particle beams together in the collider creates showers of new particles that replicate conditions in the universe just moments after its conception.

CERN noted that it has collected more than 100 petabytes of data, which is equivalent to about 700 years of full HD-quality movies.

The collider, a 17-mile, underground, vacuum-sealed loop at a facility that sits astride the Franco-Swiss border, was first tested in September 2008. Plagued with technical problems, the collider was kept offline for repairs and the addition of safeguards until November 2009.

This planned downtime, however, is for maintenance and to upgrade the collider so it's ready for higher energy collisions.

"There is a great deal of consolidation work to do on CERN's whole accelerator complex, as well as the [Large Hadron Collider] itself," said CERN's director for accelerators and technology, Steve Myers, in a statement. "We'll essentially be rebuilding the interconnections between [collider] magnets, so when we resume running in 2015, we will be able to operate the machine at its design energy of 7 TeV per beam."

TeV stands for teraelectron volt, which is a measure of energy.

Before it was shut down, the collider had one potentially major discovery.

Last summer, CERN scientists announced the discovery of a new particle. They weren't sure at the time, but said they hoped that it was the Higgs boson, a particle with such mystery and scientific importance attached to it that it has been dubbed the God particle.

The Higgs boson is believed to account for why everything in the universe has weight. It could be a key component of everything from humans to stars and planets, as well as the vast majority of the universe that is invisible.

In December, CERN scientists said they were nearly positive that the particle discovered is the Higgs boson but will continue to investigate it.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *