Anyone interested in particle physics probably felt a twinge of sadness when CERN announced it would shut down the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) for two years while essential repairs and upgrades took place. Don't worry though: It turns out the work is part of a larger reconstruction plan, and also leads to something more powerful on reopening.
The repairs relate to an incident back in 2008, where a fault between two types of magnet caused mechanical damage and the release of helium into the tunnel where the LHC was housed. Fortunately, no-one was put at risk, but the fault did put back the LHC's work by six months.
To prevent this sort of thing from happening, engineers will add 27,000 "shunts" to all of the LHC's 10,000 magnetic connections. This also means that the LHC will be more powerful the next time its fired up in 2015.
The Technology Department's Jean-Phillipe Tock made a short video to explain the repairs, and what will happen once the repairs are finished.
Remember, while the short term closure of the collider may suck, in the long term the upgrades will mean CERN can really get in there and do some serious particle mashing. That's something we all want to see.
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