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LHC may face another delay

Trouble with the cathedral of the 21st century

According to Peter Calamai, the LHC is like a medieval cathedral.

It has already outlasted some of its builders. The four detector experiments are distributed much like chapels in a cathedral and the CMS is large enough to accomodate the Canterbury cathedral.

Unlike the LHC, however, the cathedrals didn't fail the high-pressure test of the magnets three days ago. The CERN switched to a gloomy mood and is convinced that it is Fermilab's fault. Fermilab will try to comment on the details and invent a fix as soon as possible. Let's hope that they are problem solvers.

The most indisputable task for this cathedral is to find the God particle. At Harvard, we prefer this name because the technical name "Higgs particle" gives a somewhat misleading impression that Peter Higgs would necessarily have to get a Nobel prize for its discovery. Steven Weinberg has already received a Nobel prize for its theoretical understanding which is why Sheldon Glashow called the particle "Weinberg toilet": it is something you need for life but you are not necessarily proud about it. You can see that Glashow's respect for the God particle has its limits, much like his admiration for string theory herself. :-)

The LHC will generate 1 percent of the world's data and one teravolt is like an AA battery from each star in the Milky Way. And what happens if even the God particle is found not to exist? Well, Peter Calamai argues that the theoretical physicists will be lost and he is right. ;-)

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