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LHC delay rumours

By Hamish Johnston

Physicists like a bit of gossip — especially if it’s about when the Large Hadron Collider will be back in action after its catastrophic failure last year.

That’s why I was fascinated by a post on Peter Woit’s Not Even Wrong blog suggesting that the LHC start-up will be delayed by four weeks beyond its current September 2009 target.

Woit refers to a “draft” of the latest repair schedule that was presented by LHC operations leader Roger Bailey at a recent conference in Oxford. The document clearly shows that the first beam will be circulated during week 43 of 2009 — which begins on Monday 19 October.

By contrast, the schedule released in February says the beam should be commissioned the week of 21 September.

The draft schedule seems to suggest that the problem is related to repairing sector 34, the section of the accelerator where the disaster occurred.

I asked CERN spokesman James Gillies what was going on. He said like any major project, “time is lost and time is gained” in various aspects of the repairs and there is no point in putting out a new schedule every time this happens.

He also said that CERN is now looking for ways to make up the extra time identified by Bailey and he said that the repair team are confident of having the LHC running towards the end of September as planned.

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  1. Andrei

    No way it’s going to run this year. It took something like 6 months to cool last time. If they were to run in Sept, they would have started cooling by now. But the Tevatron seems to be doing well. In any case they will put up some new results in August. I hope you will cover them in detail.

  2. Ender

    How much is four weeks in a years long delay? What really matters is that they build the machine right and prevent another “accident” from happening. I’ve wondered to what extent was Aymar’s haste to have the machine running to blame for the mishap.
    Indeed, the LHC is not alone in overspending and over-schedule. There’s the recent example of NIF, and ITER has already been re-scheduled to start, from 2016 to 2018.

  3. es

    I heard an update a few weeks ago at Moriond.
    They are already two weeks behind schedule.
    Sept looks unlikely.

  4. david mahan

    What will be the net value to the culture if we find the higgs boson particle in 5 years or maybe even 10?? The Russian’s have intimated at possible value in more selective radiation therapy using protons from the accelerator. We don’t need to spend billions for that. That is good news. What else?? Are we just satisfying the intellectual curiosity of a legions of particle physicists?


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