LHC 'Malfunction' No Accident?

The Large Hadron Collider was unable to proceed with further testing this past week, owing to an electrical problem with a cooling system. A resulting helium leak caused a shutdown; since the enormous machine takes 3-4 weeks to warm up, the soonest the LHC could come back online is November.


(Very pretty picture of the Large Hadron Collider)

Now, however, CERN announced that the warm-up period and ensuing investigations will bump up against the LHC's "obligatory winter maintenance period." So, it will be early spring of 2009 before the LHC can go back online.

An unfortunate time for what everyone sees as a random malfunction.

Or was it?

In his 1997 novel Einstein's Bridge, sf author John Cramer writes about efforts of physicists to bring the Superconducting Super Collider online. However, as it turns out, the SSC becomes the source of powerful radiations of a type that attract the attentions of powerful and malefic intelligences elsewhere in the galaxy.

Hoping to avoid catastrophe, two physicists go back in time to try to sabotage the collider and keep it from ever going online.

Plucky CERN Director Robert Aymar is undismayed by these problems, regardless of whether they are due to mundane engineering flaws or time-traveling tinkerers.

“Coming immediately after the very successful start of LHC operation on 10 September, this is undoubtedly a psychological blow. Nevertheless, the success of the LHC’s first operation with beam 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.”

Take that, future boy.

See stories like Large Hadron Collider Down Until 2009 for more; thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip on this story angle, which he remarks is a "little more speculative" than some of the other stories on this site.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/25/2008)

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