'Big bang' collider hit by further delay

By Andrew Johnson
Saturday 22 October 2011 21:06

The secrets of the Big Bang will have to remain secret a little longer. The Large Hadron Collider, which took 20 years to build and cost £3.6bn, will not be able to unravel the mysteries of the universe for at least another two months, scientists announced yesterday. The machine – a 17-mile circuit of super-cooled magnets deep beneath the borders of France and Switzerland – had to be shut down when temperatures rose by about 100C, causing a leak of a ton of liquid helium into the tunnel. Scientists had hoped that the problem could be resolved quickly but yesterday announced that the project – beset by problems during its construction– will be further delayed.

James Gilles, a spokesman for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern), said: "It's too early to say precisely what happened, but it seems to be a faulty electrical connection between two magnets that stopped superconducting, melted and led to a mechanical failure and let the helium out."

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