Cern's atom smasher hiatus sets stage for more discoveries
GENEVA (AP) - The world's largest and most powerful atom smasher goes into a two-year hibernation in March, as engineers carry out a revamp to help it reach maximum energy levels that could lead to more stunning discoveries following the detection of the so-called "God particle".
With the reopening of its US$10 billion (S$12 billion) proton collider in early 2015, the stage will be set for observing more rare phenomena - and unlocking more mysteries, said Mr James Gillies, chief spokesman for the European particle physics laboratory known as Cern (French acronym for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research).
The Large Hadron Collider under the Swiss-French border will operate for two more months then shut down through 2014, allowing engineers to lay thousands more superconducting cables aimed at bringing the machine up to "full design energy", Mr Gillies told The Associated Press on Friday.
Physicists at the Cern won't exactly be idle as the collider takes a break. There are still reams more data to sift through since the July discovery of a new sub-atomic particle called the Higgs boson - dubbed the "God particle" - which promises a new realm of understanding of the universe.