Large Hadron Collider suffers carb attack

Efforts to get the Large Hadron Collider up and running just encountered a temporary snag, reports yesterday’s online edition of The Times of London. A crusty chunk of bread “paralysed a high voltage installation that should have been powering the cooling unit.” That cryogenic facility, guarded by high-security fences, is designed to super-chill the LHC to temperatures approaching absolute zero.

And the official explanation for the out-of-place chunk of starch?

“Nobody knows,” a spokewoman for the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva told The Times. “The best guess is that it was dropped by a bird, either that or it was thrown out of a passing aeroplane.” Then again, that doesn’t seem to quite comport with the news organization’s explanation about where the bread was found: on an electrical connection inside one of eight above-ground buildings at the site.

Janet Raloff is the Editor, Digital of Science News Explores, a daily online magazine for middle school students. She started at Science News in 1977 as the environment and policy writer, specializing in toxicology. To her never-ending surprise, her daughter became a toxicologist.

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