September 11, 2009

Scientists: Collider will produce results

The Large Hadron Collider will not become a white elephant, despite having operated just one week in the year since its debut, scientists in Switzerland said.

The world's most powerful atom smasher began operation a year ago this month near Geneva amid great expectations it would recreate the conditions of the universe at its earliest infancy.

A week later, the more than $8 billion collider broke down. Scientists have spent the last year replacing super magnets and inspecting parts designed in a collaboration with as many as 2,000 scientists worldwide, said experimental physicist Edda Gschwendtner of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the group that developed the particale accelerator.

This is really a flagship, Gschwendtner said, calling the collider both prototype and final product.

Gschwendtner and her team will start the collider again during the next two months, bringing it online at half speed with a belief it will function at full capacity, in time, collider spokesman James Gillies told in a story published Friday.

It's not going to become a white elephant, Gillies said.