World's largest atom smasher shut down by weasel
GENEVA, Switzerland - Officials say a weasel-like rodent managed to shut down the world’s most powerful atom smasher after the vermin apparently gnawed through a power cable.
CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is a 17-mile long machine that sits deep underground on the border of France and Switzerland. Engineers investigating the shutdown said they found the charred remains of what was once a somehwat adorable, furry animal near a chewed-up power cable.
"We had electrical problems, and we are pretty sure this was caused by a small animal," Arnaud Marsollier, head of press for CERN, told NPR.
The Large Hadron Collider was safely stopped after technical issues that included a power cut due to the passage of a weasel on a high voltage electrical transformer, said Marsollier.
"Such events happened a few times in the past and are part of the life of such a large installation," Marsollier added. "Some connections were slightly damaged and we are at work to repair, what would not take long. We will be back online soon with a very exciting scientific programme as the LHC will explore further the world of particles at high energy."
The Large Hadron Collider is credited with a multitude of new physics revelations, including the detection of a pentaquark. CERN made headlines in 2012 when the machine discovered experimental evidence for the Higgs boson particle, nicknamed the “God particle” by some. The discovery is believed to explain how other particles acquire their mass.