Particle smasher aims for May 2008 switch-on

THE Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle smasher, will switch on in May 2008. If nothing else goes wrong, that is. The LHC is being built at CERN, the European particle physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland. It was due to start later this year, but mishaps, some of them serious, derailed the plans. In March, the supports for a set of so-called “inner triplet” magnets failed during testing. These magnets squeeze the LHC’s counterrotating proton beams and make them collide at four points along the 27-kilometre tunnel. The damaged set of triplets is being repaired,
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