Large Hadron Collider broken

November 18, 2008 / LHC is in the shop and the scientists must be sad.

[LHC CMS silicon strip tracking detector]
Not necessarily related to glitch, but quite awesome. (Image: CERN/Michael Hoch.)

CERN‘s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project hit a roadblock in September:

The fault occurred just nine days after it was turned on with Cern blaming the shutdown on the failure of a single, badly soldered electrical connection in one of its super-cooled magnet sections. The collider operates at temperatures colder than outer space for maximum efficiency and experts needed to gradually warm the damaged section to assess it. “Now the sector is warm so they are able to go in and physically look at each of the interconnections,” Mr Gillies told Associated Press.

Colder than space? For real? Have the engineers seen the movie Contact (spoiler alert) where “the nations of the world” attempt to build a gigantic Machine at Cape Canaveral that will allow a single traveller to visit the stars, but then it falls apart rather badly because of a religious nutter? Humanity’s dreams are saved by a secret Japanese experiment to build a copy of The Machine in a remote stretch of Hokkaido. I’m not saying Japan has its own LHC, or that the country is not cooperative. But who is building the VLHC?

Seriously, though. I hope they get the first one working.

Edited to add: CERN’s CDS Invenio document server is interesting, and pretty manageable from a user perspective. It runs on a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Python) and is licensed under the GNU GPL. Like Fedora, another open source digital object repository system (I poked it with a stick a few years ago with Allynn), this one complies with the OAI Protocol that allows sharing of metadata between different repositories.

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