Large Hadron Collider Closing Down for a Year

Atom-smasher needs months of work to run at full capacity
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2010 2:32 AM CST
Updated Mar 10, 2010 4:52 AM CST
This image shows particle tracks as protons collided in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider during an experiment last year.   (AP Photo/CERN)
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(Newser) – The glitch-plagued Large Hadron Collider will be closing down for a year at the end of 2011 to fix flaws in its construction. The atom-smasher restarted recently after being out of commission for 14 months and will soon accelerate protons to energies of 7 trillion electron volts. It will take a year of work for the machine to reach its full capacity and create collisions at twice that level, a project director tells the BBC.

Scientists say the 7 trillion volt collisions will help them learn more about dark matter. Their ultimate aim is to recreate conditions immediately after the Big Bang when the collider is running at full power. A woman who sued to have the machine shut down because she feared it would create a planet-destroying black hole lost her case yesterday after a German court found she was "unable to give a coherent account of how her fears would come about," AFP reports.

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