Weasel Shuts Down Large Hadron Collider
The world’s most powerful atom-smasher has been shut down after a weasel chewed through its wiring.
The animal died after biting through a wire connected to a 66,000-volt transformer powering the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland.
The £3.74bn machine, which was used to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson – also known as the God particle, will be shut down for a few days while repairs are carried out.
In an in-house report, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), which runs the 17-mile circuit under the Swiss-French border, said it was “not the best week for LHC!”
It said the weasel caused a “severe electrical perturbation”, damaging the machine’s transformer connections.
CERN spokesman Arnaud Marsollier said the creature did not survive the encounter, and there were few remains of it left.
In 2009, the LHC was shut down in a similar incident, when it is thought a bird dropped part of a baguette on a compensating capacitor.
The giant lab works by racing protons around its tunnels at just below the speed of light.
The energy released when they collide is used to spark the creation of new particles.
With the ability to tap into higher energy, scientists hope to explore the mysterious realms of “new physics” that could yield evidence of hidden extra dimensions and dark matter.