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Large Hadron Collider to be shut down for a year

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European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists control computer screens showing traces on Atlas experiment of the first protons injected in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) during its switch on operation at the Cern's press center on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008 near Geneva, Switzerland. Scientists fired a first beam of protons around a 27-kilometer (17mile) tunnel housing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). They hope to recreate conditions just after the so-called Big Bang. The international group of scientists plan to smash particles together to create, on a small-scale, re-enactments of the Big Bang. (AP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini, Pool)

European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists control computer screens showing traces on Atlas experiment of the first protons injected in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) during its switch on operation at the Cern's press center on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008 near Geneva, Switzerland. Scientists fired a first beam of protons around a 27-kilometer (17mile) tunnel housing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). They hope to recreate conditions just after the so-called Big Bang. The international group of scientists plan to smash particles together to create, on a small-scale, re-enactments of the Big Bang. (AP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini, Pool)

Fabrice Coffrini

Super. Smashing. Great: Scientists delighted as LHC fires up

Super. Smashing. Great: Scientists delighted as LHC fires up

Super. Smashing. Great: Scientists delighted as LHC fires up

Super. Smashing. Great: Scientists delighted as LHC fires up

**ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, JUNE 29--FILE**  In this March 22, 2007 file photo, the magnet core of the world's largest superconducting solenoid magnet (CMS, Compact Muon Solenoid) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)'s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator, which is scheduled to switch on in November 2007, in Geneva, Switzerland.  Some 2000 scientists from 155 institutes in 36 countries are working together to build the CMS particle detector. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, file)

**ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, JUNE 29--FILE** In this March 22, 2007 file photo, the magnet core of the world's largest superconducting solenoid magnet (CMS, Compact Muon Solenoid) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)'s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator, which is scheduled to switch on in November 2007, in Geneva, Switzerland. Some 2000 scientists from 155 institutes in 36 countries are working together to build the CMS particle detector. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, file)

MARTIAL TREZZINI

A European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientist controls a computer screen showing traces on Atlas experiment of the first protons injected in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) during its switch on operation at the Cern's press center on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008 near Geneva, Switzerland. Scientists fired a first beam of protons around a 27-kilometer (17 mile) tunnel housing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). They hope to recreate conditions just after the so-called Big Bang. The international group of scientists plan to smash particles together to create, on a small-scale, re-enactments of the Big Bang. (AP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini, Pool)

A European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientist controls a computer screen showing traces on Atlas experiment of the first protons injected in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) during its switch on operation at the Cern's press center on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008 near Geneva, Switzerland. Scientists fired a first beam of protons around a 27-kilometer (17 mile) tunnel housing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). They hope to recreate conditions just after the so-called Big Bang. The international group of scientists plan to smash particles together to create, on a small-scale, re-enactments of the Big Bang. (AP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini, Pool)

Fabrice Coffrini

View of the LHC (large hadron collider) in its tunnel at CERN near Geneva

View of the LHC (large hadron collider) in its tunnel at CERN near Geneva

MARTIAL TREZZINI

Spectators look at the ATLAS detector construction (a Toroidal LHC Apparatus) at the CERN (Centre Europeen de Recherche Nucleaire) near Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 31, 2007. The detector will be placed around the large hadron collider (LHC), CERN's highest energy particle accelerator. ATLAS is a general-purpose detector designed to measure the broadest possible range of particles and physical processes that could result from the collision of the proton beams within the LHC. A pilot run of the LHC is scheduled for summer 2007. (KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

Spectators look at the ATLAS detector construction (a Toroidal LHC Apparatus) at the CERN (Centre Europeen de Recherche Nucleaire) near Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 31, 2007. The detector will be placed around the large hadron collider (LHC), CERN's highest energy particle accelerator. ATLAS is a general-purpose detector designed to measure the broadest possible range of particles and physical processes that could result from the collision of the proton beams within the LHC. A pilot run of the LHC is scheduled for summer 2007. (KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

MARTIAL TREZZINI

**FILE**This March 22, 2007 file photo, shows the magnet core of the world's largest superconducting solenoid magnet (CMS, Compact Muon Solenoid) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)'s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator, which is scheduled to be switched on in November, in Geneva, Switzerland. Some 2,000 scientists from 155 institutes in 36 countries are working together to build the CMS particle detector. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, file)

**FILE**This March 22, 2007 file photo, shows the magnet core of the world's largest superconducting solenoid magnet (CMS, Compact Muon Solenoid) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)'s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator, which is scheduled to be switched on in November, in Geneva, Switzerland. Some 2,000 scientists from 155 institutes in 36 countries are working together to build the CMS particle detector. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, file)

MARTIAL TREZZINI

View of the LHC (large hadron collider) in its tunnel at CERN (European particle physics laboratory) near Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 31, 2007. The LHC is a 27-kilometre-long underground ring of superconducting magnets housed in this pipe-like structure or cryostat. The cryostat is cooled by liquid helium to keep it at an operating temperature just above absolute zero. It will accelerate two counter-rotating beam of protons to an energy of 7 tera electron volts (TeV) and then bring them to collide head on. Several detectors are being built around the LHC to detect the various particles produced by the collision. A pilot run of the LHC is scheduled for summer 2007. (KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

View of the LHC (large hadron collider) in its tunnel at CERN (European particle physics laboratory) near Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 31, 2007. The LHC is a 27-kilometre-long underground ring of superconducting magnets housed in this pipe-like structure or cryostat. The cryostat is cooled by liquid helium to keep it at an operating temperature just above absolute zero. It will accelerate two counter-rotating beam of protons to an energy of 7 tera electron volts (TeV) and then bring them to collide head on. Several detectors are being built around the LHC to detect the various particles produced by the collision. A pilot run of the LHC is scheduled for summer 2007. (KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

MARTIAL TREZZINI

Spectators look at the ATLAS detector construction (a Toroidal LHC Apparatus) at the CERN (Centre Europeen de Recherche Nucleaire) near Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 31, 2007. The detector will be placed around the large hadron collider (LHC), CERN's highest energy particle accelerator. ATLAS is a general-purpose detector designed to measure the broadest possible range of particles and physical processes that could result from the collision of the proton beams within the LHC. A pilot run of the LHC is scheduled for summer 2007. (KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

Spectators look at the ATLAS detector construction (a Toroidal LHC Apparatus) at the CERN (Centre Europeen de Recherche Nucleaire) near Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 31, 2007. The detector will be placed around the large hadron collider (LHC), CERN's highest energy particle accelerator. ATLAS is a general-purpose detector designed to measure the broadest possible range of particles and physical processes that could result from the collision of the proton beams within the LHC. A pilot run of the LHC is scheduled for summer 2007. (KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

MARTIAL TREZZINI

Spectators look at the ATLAS detector construction (a Toroidal LHC Apparatus) at the CERN (Centre Europeen de Recherche Nucleaire) near Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 31, 2007. The detector will be placed around the large hadron collider (LHC), CERN's highest energy particle accelerator. ATLAS is a general-purpose detector designed to measure the broadest possible range of particles and physical processes that could result from the collision of the proton beams within the LHC. A pilot run of the LHC is scheduled for summer 2007. (KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

Spectators look at the ATLAS detector construction (a Toroidal LHC Apparatus) at the CERN (Centre Europeen de Recherche Nucleaire) near Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 31, 2007. The detector will be placed around the large hadron collider (LHC), CERN's highest energy particle accelerator. ATLAS is a general-purpose detector designed to measure the broadest possible range of particles and physical processes that could result from the collision of the proton beams within the LHC. A pilot run of the LHC is scheduled for summer 2007. (KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

MARTIAL TREZZINI

Employees inspect the ATLAS detector construction (a Toroidal LHC Apparatus) at the the CERN (Centre Europeen de Recherche Nucleaire) near Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday, May 31, 2007. The detector will be placed around the large hadron collider (LHC), CERN's highest energy particle accelerator. ATLAS is a general-purpose detector designed to measure the broadest possible range of particles and physical processes that could result from the collision of the proton beams within the LHC. A pilot run of the LHC is scheduled for summer 2007. (KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

Employees inspect the ATLAS detector construction (a Toroidal LHC Apparatus) at the the CERN (Centre Europeen de Recherche Nucleaire) near Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday, May 31, 2007. The detector will be placed around the large hadron collider (LHC), CERN's highest energy particle accelerator. ATLAS is a general-purpose detector designed to measure the broadest possible range of particles and physical processes that could result from the collision of the proton beams within the LHC. A pilot run of the LHC is scheduled for summer 2007. (KEYSTONE/Martial Trezzini)

MARTIAL TREZZINI

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European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists control computer screens showing traces on Atlas experiment of the first protons injected in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) during its switch on operation at the Cern's press center on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008 near Geneva, Switzerland. Scientists fired a first beam of protons around a 27-kilometer (17mile) tunnel housing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). They hope to recreate conditions just after the so-called Big Bang. The international group of scientists plan to smash particles together to create, on a small-scale, re-enactments of the Big Bang. (AP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini, Pool)

The world's most expensive scientific experiment designed to discover the “God particle” and recreate the conditions that existed at the dawn of creation will be switched off for a year to correct a design problem that could break it apart if it ran on full power.

Scientists in charge of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva announced yesterday that the machine will only be able to run on half energy before it is temporarily shut down in two years' time. Its full operating capacity designed to probe the frontiers of science will not be achieved until at least 2013.

However, the European Centre for Nuclear Research (Cern), which operates the £2.6bn ‘atom smasher’ on the Franco-Swiss border, said that the additional costs of correcting the problem in the machine's copper sheaths or “stabilisers” would come out of its existing budget and it would not be asking for any additional funding from contributing countries, including Britain.

On September 19, 2008, the LHC had to be shut down just days after it was switched on for the first time because of an electrical fault that led to helium gas being accidentally released into the machine's underground tunnel. The fault took £25m to fix but Cern's engineers found that further work on the copper stabilisers designed to soak up spare electrical current from the supercooled magnets was needed before the machine could go to full energy.

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