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Thought your repair bill from your fender bender was bad? Check out this whopper of a high-tech repair bill

The LHC particle accelerator was the source of much excitement in the scientific community as well as much fear among uniformed skeptics who believed it would create black holes when brought online.  When the LHC, CERN's baby, was turned online it did a lot -- but nothing bad -- breezing through early tests

However, it quickly went from doing a lot to doing nothing at all, when a transformer broke during the final stage of testing, blowing a great deal of expensive circuitry in the process.

With winter fast approaching, repairs are pretty much done for the year and much work remains to be done.  Perhaps fears of black holes should be replaced with fears of sticker shock in skeptics’ minds.  The repairs sport one expensive bill -- $21M USD.

Offline since September 19, the repairs will take at least until the early summer say CERN officials.  They say June is likely the earliest restart date, later than previously speculated.  Spokesman James Gillies delivered the bad news about the high price tag and slow nature of the painstaking repairs.  He stated, "If we can do it sooner, all well and good. But I think we can do it realistically (in) early summer."

What brought down LHC?  One bad solder was the source of the electrical malfunction, according to Mr. Gillies.

The collider operates at temperatures colder than the depths of space, so a long, gradual warming process was required for repairs.  After months the collider has finally been warmed to the point where it can be fully inspected.  Says Mr. Gillies, "Now the sector is warm so they are able to go in and physically look at each of the interconnections."

CERN should be able to finance the repair with its existing budget, he says.

The massive particle accelerator on the Swiss-French border is worth the wait and trouble, say scientists.  They remind that particle accelerators typically have these kinds of problems when first deployed.  They also say that the LHC is more troublesome than normal as it is cooled more highly than other designs.  However, this cooling is critical to gaining the first ever glimpse at a possible undiscovered world of previously unobserved exotic particles and phenomena.



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Should be in the US
By FITCamaro on 11/18/2008 12:15:06 PM , Rating: 4
The US was building an even bigger one in Texas. Then we decided scientific research wasn't important.




RE: Should be in the US
By danrien on 11/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Should be in the US
By rmlarsen on 11/18/2008 12:34:35 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that turning our backs on science could be a costly mistake in the long run. Still, a lot of American researchers and research institutions are involved in analyzing data from the LHC, so national pride shouldn't be hurt too much.


RE: Should be in the US
By whirabomber on 11/18/2008 12:37:31 PM , Rating: 5
Actually the US supercollider project was cancelled due to the 2 billion spent with only about 100m of rough tunnel to show for it. Add allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse and the project was killed.


RE: Should be in the US
By foxtrot9 on 11/18/2008 3:54:33 PM , Rating: 3
Sounds like most gov't projects, overbudget and inefficient


RE: Should be in the US
By B3an on 11/19/2008 6:24:59 AM , Rating: 2
Just like most US projects then.


RE: Should be in the US
By Headfoot on 11/19/2008 12:17:19 PM , Rating: 5
Correction: Just like most "insert your government here"'s projects then.


RE: Should be in the US
By Regs on 11/19/2008 11:18:16 PM , Rating: 2
Private organizations/enterprises are the one's putting the houses back on their foundations in Louisiana-post Katrina. For people to collect through the government, they'll have to fill out 10 or so permits and countless land surveys, then wait a few years. Bureaucracy at its finest.

If they did decide to build a wall on our southern boarders, it would take them 10 years just to decide what color to paint it.


RE: Should be in the US
By GeorgeH on 11/18/2008 12:38:09 PM , Rating: 2
Don't worry; as soon as China/India/Nicaragua completes Sputnik v2, there'll be interest in U.S. science again.


RE: Should be in the US
By Gzus666 on 11/18/2008 12:42:01 PM , Rating: 2
I hear ya, live in Dallas. Thank you bible belt!! Duh, being a scientific mecca serves no purpose. I hate the south.


RE: Should be in the US
By Ringold on 11/18/2008 2:37:15 PM , Rating: 2
Feel free to leave and join your kin in the North or the Left Coast, with their collapsing employment. Texas meanwhile has been hitting record low unemployment levels this year, and the South in general has out-performed. You might hate the South, but the results of its economic policies have been pretty clear.


RE: Should be in the US
By FITCamaro on 11/18/2008 3:33:12 PM , Rating: 1
I'm from Texas and would love to be able to get a job there. Just haven't found one yet. Want to return home.


RE: Should be in the US
By Gzus666 on 11/18/2008 3:41:50 PM , Rating: 2
Find me a job in New England, I will trade you my job, ha. You could work right outside North Dallas, be by all the nice restaurants, got 2 Fry's within reasonable driving distance.


RE: Should be in the US
By FITCamaro on 11/19/2008 8:48:57 AM , Rating: 1
South Carolina good enough? Plenty of northern people here and they even drive like sh*t just like the people up north.


RE: Should be in the US
By Raidin on 11/21/2008 2:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
Come work with me FIT, I'm down in Houston, and make sure you bring your extra-strength opinionated DailyTech comments with you! =P


RE: Should be in the US
By Gzus666 on 11/18/2008 3:50:07 PM , Rating: 4
I would love to. My plan is to eventually get back somewhere in New England. Sure they have great employment levels here, but the people suck, the weather sucks, the food generally sucks. Not for me, I <3 NY.

Granted it would be hard for me to move home, but somewhere in the great New England would make me happy. Could get a real pizza, real Italian, some real French food, some actual Delis and Bakeries, some real seafood, clam chowder, how I miss you! All the good Italian joints here close due to no taste from the local white bread populace.


RE: Should be in the US
By ggordonliddy on 11/18/2008 7:42:39 PM , Rating: 1
Kind of sad if you want to move some place for its food.


RE: Should be in the US
By Gzus666 on 11/18/2008 8:16:20 PM , Rating: 1
I also said I don't like the weather or people here, but it would appear you skimmed over that. Anyway, I'm a bit of a foodie, I have a rich man's palate. It is ingrained in humans to appreciate and love food, it is our survival at stake. Can you really say you don't appreciate a good meal?


RE: Should be in the US
By StevoLincolnite on 11/18/2008 9:21:11 PM , Rating: 2
Food goes in one end and out the other, As long as it's food to fill my stomach when it growls I'm happy, I'm personally not a big eater anyway. :P


RE: Should be in the US
By FITCamaro on 11/19/08, Rating: 0
RE: Should be in the US
By Gzus666 on 11/19/2008 9:39:45 AM , Rating: 1
Bugs are actually quite good for you, I think he should since he claims not to care other than filling his stomach, ha.


RE: Should be in the US
By craigcu on 11/20/2008 9:39:46 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Food goes in one end and out the other, As long as it's food to fill my stomach when it growls I'm happy, I'm personally not a big eater anyway. :P

Oh, that's so sad. So sad.


RE: Should be in the US
By JonnyDough on 11/20/2008 3:17:00 PM , Rating: 2
You must be a smoker. Try quitting and taste food again for the first time since grade school!


RE: Should be in the US
By mindless1 on 11/24/2008 11:51:08 PM , Rating: 2
You started smoking in grade school? Or you're just full of nonsense today?


RE: Should be in the US
By craigcu on 11/20/2008 9:37:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
All the good Italian joints here close due to no taste from the local white bread populace.


I agree. I was in Dallas on extended business in late 90's once. When I finally found an Italian restaurant in a strip mall, I couldn't get a glass of red wine with dinner - it was in a "dry" part of the city. Very sad.



RE: Should be in the US
By goz314 on 11/18/2008 3:51:07 PM , Rating: 2
I think it probably has less to do with economic policy per se and more to do with the extractive industries. Wyoming, the least populace state in the union, has been experiencing an economic boom over the past few years as well and it isn't because the state was secretly part of the confederacy or because the economic policy adheres to laissez faire tenets. It's because Wyoming has more natural gas and low sulphur coal in it than most other states in the union.


RE: Should be in the US
By FITCamaro on 11/19/2008 8:53:44 AM , Rating: 2
Texas and Florida have growing economies because they don't tax businesses and people to death. And housing is cheap. Why build an office in California or Massachusetts when you can build it in Texas for 1/3 the price and pay people half as much because the cost of living is lower?


RE: Should be in the US
By sweetsauce on 11/19/2008 11:16:21 AM , Rating: 2
So basically what you're saying is give Texas 10-15 years and they'll be like California or worse economically. You really think the housing market in Texas will stay the way it is if it continues to grow economically? That housing pyramid scheme is almost ready for prime time.


RE: Should be in the US
By Headfoot on 11/19/2008 12:19:32 PM , Rating: 3
Well by the looks of the current credit crunch, prime time has arrived in full force already.


RE: Should be in the US
By Lugaidster on 11/18/2008 12:48:49 PM , Rating: 2
So what, get over your pride. It doesn't really matter who makes it as long as the people that need it have access to it.

I am glad it wasn't built in the states, after all, the U.S. tends to be secretive with anything that gives them a lead.


RE: Should be in the US
By MatthiasF on 11/18/2008 11:51:19 PM , Rating: 2
No reason for the experiment so why host it in the US?

They're trying to find something to prove a religious belief hidden in a scientific theory (Quantum, Big Bang, etc.).

It's the equivalent of someone spending billions to create a big zoo with every animal and plant in the world to prove intelligent design.

Both are great projects that might seem worthwhile, but both have flawed ulterior motives.


RE: Should be in the US
By FITCamaro on 11/19/2008 8:56:29 AM , Rating: 2
Or maybe its because they want to understand how things work?

What is it with you anti-religious nutjobs?


RE: Should be in the US
By craigcu on 11/20/2008 10:01:15 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
What is it with you anti-religious nutjobs?

OK, I'll bite:
Because we can no longer tolerate the fanatical zealots who:
- deny the rights of GLBT couples that hetero married people take for granted
- blame natural disasters on gay people
- refuse to grasp the concepts of "separation of church and state" and "the scientific method"
- "intelligent design" is an interesting concept, but is NOT hard science and should not be treated as such
- don't get me started on stem cell research
- are hypocrites who claim to uphold family values


RE: Should be in the US
By mindless1 on 11/24/2008 11:54:21 PM , Rating: 2
I couldn't agree me, global warming is obviously to blame for stem cell research.


RE: Should be in the US
By sweetsauce on 11/19/2008 11:20:55 AM , Rating: 1
I agree 100%. I'm overjoyed the collider went down for repairs. Scientific research based on flawed theories is a waste of time and money.


RE: Should be in the US
By mindless1 on 11/24/2008 11:57:09 PM , Rating: 2
So, umm, it's even better to spend more money and waste even more time on it due to setbacks? Or did you think at this point they'd just say fvck it and play with a new toy instead?


RE: Should be in the US
By FaceMaster on 11/19/2008 3:08:46 PM , Rating: 2
Nah Americans wouldn't be able to run such a machine.


RE: Should be in the US
By craigcu on 11/20/2008 9:29:59 AM , Rating: 2
" The US was building an even bigger one in Texas. Then we decided scientific research wasn't important. "

Aah, I remember that project. Wisconsin was being considered as a possible site to have it built and we were all very disappointed when it got hijacked, uh, I mean moved to Austin.


DAMN YOU...
By Gzus666 on 11/18/2008 12:08:19 PM , Rating: 3
CHEAP SOLDER!!! *Shakes Fist*




RE: DAMN YOU...
By ChrisSutcliff on 11/18/2008 12:17:22 PM , Rating: 6
Thats what you get for being ROHS compliant...


RE: DAMN YOU...
By littleprince on 11/18/2008 12:46:11 PM , Rating: 5
The price of being lead-free is apparently 21M+ for CERN.

Amazing they have it in their budget for the repair!


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Pneumothorax on 11/18/2008 1:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yeppers, the ROHS is some really brittle stuff. I miss the LEAD lol


RE: DAMN YOU...
By KC7SWH on 11/18/2008 3:16:14 PM , Rating: 5
Just buy some toys from China and you'll find all the lead you need.


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Oregonian2 on 11/19/2008 1:41:28 AM , Rating: 2
Curiously I think that China's version of RoHS is a bit tighter than Europe's (the "official" RoHS). Or so I gather from "green charts" on electronic components.

Not that those toys you speak of pay attention to such things. :-)


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Samus on 11/19/2008 2:49:29 AM , Rating: 2
I doubt there is anything 'tighter' about China's humanitarian-based manufacturing requirements in comparison to the EU's. I believe it was the EU that saught China adobt the ROHS guidelines in the first place...however, removing lead from solder is like removing lead from paint. It's safer, but it isn't as high quality as the new-age substitutes aren't the beefiest curing agents.


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Oregonian2 on 11/19/2008 6:57:15 PM , Rating: 2
You may be right, I was just saying what component descriptions said (China's equivalent "RoHS" designation took more than that which would qualify as RoHS). Until a couple weeks ago I was a electronic design engineer (making RoHS products in recent years).

This isn't to say that all or any Chinese products are in compliance with their own specs, could just be something optional for all I know.


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Zoomer on 11/20/2008 10:53:02 PM , Rating: 2
I have my secret stash of 60/40 for my own use.

Lead free solder? It's as good as fat free Foie gras.


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Spoelie on 11/18/2008 2:12:11 PM , Rating: 3
..that and NVIDIA designing the interconnects.


RE: DAMN YOU...
By engelmaier on 11/19/2008 4:18:24 PM , Rating: 2
While of course it could be bad workmanship, I am very much afraid that this is just a bad design with inadequate Design-for-Reliability for the SJ. That would be independent of the EU Pb-ban.
What that would mean is that after they fix this SJ, restart CERN, the next badly designed SJ connection will go, and so on...and do on---sooner or later they will run out of money.


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Inkjammer on 11/18/2008 1:15:19 PM , Rating: 5
The CERN Hadron Collider effectively RROD'd due to bad soldering. I swear I've heard of something like this before. I wonder if they'll get their warranty extended by three years to compensate...


RE: DAMN YOU...
By cparka23 on 11/18/2008 1:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
I guess flux wasn't part of the budget?


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Gzus666 on 11/18/2008 3:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
Whoa there Diamond Jim, what does this look like, a money factory?


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Rodney McNaggerton on 11/18/2008 3:45:01 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't there a rather large particle accelerator somewhere in the U.S. that was built within the last 10 years, but just has not gotten nearly as much press as the LHC? I was reading about it... yet I cannot find it any more.


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Gzus666 on 11/18/2008 4:05:08 PM , Rating: 2
I believe it is in Illinois. I can't remember the name of it to save my life and I can't find it either.


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Chapbass on 11/18/2008 5:37:33 PM , Rating: 2
Fermilab is the accelerator in IL. right by my house actually the thing looks ridiculous on a map.


RE: DAMN YOU...
By Gzus666 on 11/18/2008 8:12:53 PM , Rating: 2
That is the damn name, that was driving me nuts.


It looks like all the fears were warranted...
By MrBlastman on 11/18/2008 12:02:53 PM , Rating: 5
As they have succeeded in creating a microscopic black hole... in their own bank account! ;)




RE: It looks like all the fears were warranted...
By theslug on 11/18/2008 12:36:23 PM , Rating: 4
At least it wasn't another resonance cascade.


RE: It looks like all the fears were warranted...
By MrBlastman on 11/18/2008 12:51:15 PM , Rating: 5
I'm not sure if we're out of the woods on that one yet... The headcrabs could begin surfacing any day now.


By themengsk176 on 11/18/2008 2:32:15 PM , Rating: 2
More like.. Large Hadron COLLIDED LOLOL amiright?


By PhoenixKnight on 11/18/2008 11:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
I, for one, welcome our new Combine overlords.


By martinrichards23 on 11/19/2008 10:10:42 AM , Rating: 2
where's a damn crowbar when you need one.


By SpaceJumper on 11/18/2008 12:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
I believe solder is the wrong choice for super low temperature application. Dissimilar metals expand and contract differently and cause broken solder connection. In this case, it is not just a cold solder joint. It is a super cold solder joint.




By Goty on 11/18/2008 1:57:30 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sure the hundreds of physicists and engineers from all the different countries involved with the LHC took thermal expansion into account when designing it. If they hadn't, you'd have a lot more than a single failed connection.


By ggordonliddy on 11/18/2008 7:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
I can just go pick up a "cold solder" gun from Walmart, so I think I'm ready to do the repair and save them $10 million.


Edit -
By Brazos on 11/18/2008 12:02:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The collider operates at temperatures colder than the depths of space, so a long, gradual warming process was required for repairs.




RE: Edit -
By gfxBill on 11/18/2008 11:26:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
One bad solder was the source

That's a new usage on me - "One bad solder joint" would be fine, if that is what is meant.

Given how complex that thing must be, one bad joint is pretty good going. Glad it wasn't me though, $21m, ouch!


Skeptics
By Gumby16 on 11/18/2008 2:20:09 PM , Rating: 4
Who are these "uniformed skeptics" that were worried about the LHC? I would have assumed they were uninformed, given the wild accusations and apocalyptic scenarios they put forth. Apparently they all got together, decided on a dress code, and bought matching uniforms to show their disdain for science.




Microwave?
By ggordonliddy on 11/18/2008 7:24:32 PM , Rating: 2
Why didn't they just defrost it in the microwave? Works for my turducken. I blame Bush.




RE: Microwave?
By Headfoot on 11/19/2008 12:23:06 PM , Rating: 2
John Kerry would have stopped the bad solder.


Where is he when you need him?
By Headfoot on 11/19/2008 12:25:18 PM , Rating: 2
All we need is a rubber band, some bubble gum, a Swiss Army knife and a Monday night slot on ABC.




RE: Where is he when you need him?
By Raidin on 11/21/2008 3:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, I can just imagine the warning sirens going off from the bad solder problem causing the whole thing to shut down, then as people left, he was at the solder fixing it, with the trademark theme music in the background. =P


Budget tipping
By tastyratz on 11/18/2008 12:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
CERN should be able to finance the repair with its existing budget, he says.


Whew, I thought resoldering that 1 joint may have halted the project. Thankfully its within budget and my fears are put to rest. I'm so happy CERN assured me with a statement such as that.




RRoD?
By diamondd7711 on 11/19/2008 2:47:03 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe they should wrap it up in a gaint towel and let it cook for a bit....should work fine for another month.




This thing is incredibly complex
By mattclary on 11/19/2008 9:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
The pictures of the LHC reveal how mind-numbingly complex this thing is. It amazes me what we humans are capable of. I remember thinking how easy it would be for some tiny glitch to cause this thing to be inoperable, and it looks like that was exactly the case. I wonder how many more bad solder joints are going to be revealed.

On another note: Mr. Scott would have had this bad boy fully functional in 18 hours, after having given an ETA of 3 days. They don't call him the miracle worker for nothing. ;)




Everyone loves the LHC
By TheDoc9 on 11/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: Everyone loves the LHC
By littleprince on 11/18/2008 12:49:10 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sorry, but he said Uniformed, not Un-informed.
There is a big difference.

And the uniformed skeptics do seem a little crazy.


RE: Everyone loves the LHC
By Goty on 11/18/2008 1:53:12 PM , Rating: 2
The skeptics that have done their "research" tend to conveniently leave out certain relevant facts, such as the fact that collisions much more energetic than the ones that will be performed in the LHC happen in the upper atmosphere every second of every day.


RE: Everyone loves the LHC
By Myg on 11/19/08, Rating: -1
RE: Everyone loves the LHC
By Black69ta on 11/19/2008 1:28:32 PM , Rating: 1
So let me get this straight. You think that the LHC shouldn't be used for a few Hundred/thousand Years? Humans are not ready for it? Wow, that is exactly what the Wright Brothers heard before the flight at Kitty Hawk. Or, what Chuck Yeager heard before breaking the sound Barrier in the Bell X-1. They told him it couldn't be done his plane would disintegrate before breaking the sound barrier. Scientists have always "pushed the envelope" for centuries. That is how breakthroughs are made. Maybe this is useless or maybe not, who really knows, until we are looking back at it in our history books we have no way to judge it.


RE: Everyone loves the LHC
By Myg on 11/19/2008 4:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
Its simply the fact that proper observation technology to study the phenomenon, before launching into trying to recreate it; does not exist.

It is a dangerous presidence to set for "progress", it is counter productive and an inheriently unwise practice to allow to exist within the scientific community.


RE: Everyone loves the LHC
By Goty on 11/19/2008 1:30:45 PM , Rating: 1
So I guess we should just stop all spending on any kind of scientific research then, eh? It's all just a waste of money, isn't it? We should just go back to observing nature and make no progress in the meantime?

I'm sorry, but no, that's a step in the wrong direction.

Also, I thought we were already past all of this nonsense about the LHC creating a black hole and destroying all of mankind. Firstly, even IF the LHC produced a microscopic black hole (a chance of one in ~10^12), and IF there's no such thing as Hawking Radiation (possible), then the black hole would be so light and it's Schwarzchild radius would be so small that its chance of even encountering a single atom on its way to the center of the Earth would be even smaller than the chances of its creation.


RE: Everyone loves the LHC
By Myg on 11/19/2008 5:16:18 PM , Rating: 2
"So I guess we should just stop all spending on any kind of scientific research then, eh? It's all just a waste of money, isn't it? We should just go back to observing nature and make no progress in the meantime?"

Those are your words not mine; and they sound pretty stupid to be honest.

Scientific progress need not take place because "WE WANT IT", like a spoilt brat who doesnt consider anyone but themselves. It is dangerous and irresponsible as a society for us to allow people to go ahead with such "leaps" as you call them, since playing with such matters concerns all of us. Scientists need to remember, that the work they do exists so that someone else can build upon it, and that their work is just as important as the person who will come after and study their work.

We have let them become impatient and impulsive and by allowing them to go ahead with this so fluidly and unapposed means that whenever they want to take the next step without asking or thinking. They probably wont stop to consider, because they wont have to.

We have barly adapted to the changes of the industrial revolution, let alone the technological one and the stuff proposed here. Humanity needs more time to absorb and ponder what we have done and not where we should go next.

Its like giving a toddler a hand grenade and hoping he never figures out how to set it off. We may get away lucky for a while, but in the end; chance wont always favour us.


RE: Everyone loves the LHC
By misuspita on 11/20/2008 4:18:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Scientific progress need not take place because "WE WANT IT", like a spoilt brat who doesnt consider anyone but themselves. It is dangerous and irresponsible as a society for us to allow people to go ahead with such "leaps" as you call them, since playing with such matters concerns all of us. Scientists need to remember, that the work they do exists so that someone else can build upon it, and that their work is just as important as the person who will come after and study their work.


That's a little bull. I remember a time , not so long ago, when the first atomic bomb was about to detonate. There were some who thought that it would set a chain reaction, consuming all of our atmosphere... guess what? they were wrong. As were others in the course of history opposing scientific advancements. True, some do have their accidents, but none so big that set's the planet on fire, the solar system into nothingness, etc... That's usually the press that likes to bubble things up so scary so that people would buy their newspapers, , watch Tv, or something else.

Trial and error has always been the way forward. Not sit tight and play safe. The first human probably got burned the first time he made fire. We continue to do so today, albeit on a grander scale. That's the way we advance. And if we ever want to get off this planet, we better continue doing this way, because there are many questions left unanswered.


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