Breadcrumb Latest Speed Bump for Collider

$8B science project sidetracked by 'bit of baguette'
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2009 11:59 PM CST
Updated Nov 6, 2009 6:29 AM CST
An innocent baguette slice might've shut down the world's biggest science experiment.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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(Newser) – The enormous science project buried beneath the France-Switzerland border has seen all kinds of detours in its search for the so-called “God particle”—busted vacuum tubes, al-Qaeda moles—so the latest might not be a huge surprise: A piece of bread dropped by a bird onto an outdoor segment caused the $8 billion Large Hadron Collider to shut down, again, this week.

“A bit of baguette on the busbars,” as one staffer put it to the Register, caused sections of the 17-mile-long particle collider to overheat. Had it been in use, the LHC would have shut down automatically; since it’s off-line until later this month, little damage was done other than to a reputation that’s already absorbed plenty.