Researchers, who have been waiting 14 years for the world’s largest particle collider, will have to wait another few months to see any results in the Big Bang experiment since the machine will be shut down for repairs.
Less than two weeks after scientists with The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) switched on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), Reuters reported that they found a major helium leak on Friday into the tunnel housing the colossal machine.
To fix the collider, located under the Swiss-French border, that section of the tunnel will have to be warmed up from minus 456.3 degrees Fahrenheit and later cooled down again. The process would take around two months, a CERN spokesperson told Reuters.
Since the laboratory shuts down in the winter, starting in mid-November, the experiment won’t resume until spring of 2009.
Scientists had planned on using the enormous linear machine to accelerate two beams of protons to near light speed around its 17-mile chamber and then smash the particles into each other in hopes of creating concentrations of energy which they believe would mimic the seconds after the Big Bang.
Additionally, scientists hope to find evidence of the Higgs boson, also known as the God Particle, believed to add mass to matter.
The announcement of the Big Bang experiment had caused a stir among scientists, some of whom were intrigued and a few who thought the experiment would bring the end of the world. One group of scientists even filed suit in an attempt to block the launch of the experiment, which they said would create black holes that could suck the Earth inside-out.
Among Christians, the experiment excited a debate about whether a belief in God contradicted a belief that the Big Bang jump-started the universe.
Christians from Answers in Genesis, a group of Young-Earth Creationists - the view that God created the earth as detailed by the literal account of Genesis – dismissed the hype associated with the experiment and said it was impossible to re-create the Big Bang even if such an occurrence existed.
Other Christians said they saw no incompatibility with the theory of the Big Bang and the Bible’s account of God as the creator of the life and the universe, noting that science and faith doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
According to the New York Times, CERN officials said glitches are expected in such a large and complicated machine, which cost $8 billion to build.