Underperforming magnets cast shadow over Large Hadron Collider's reactivation

Geez, we'll never suck Earth into a black hole at this rate. The faulty weld that shut down the Large Hadron Collider late last year isn't the only problem plaguing the 17-mile-long ring. Though connections between the magnets have been patched up (5,000 of the splices have been redone), a few dozen of the magnets themselves are underperforming.

From the New York Times:

In an e-mail exchange, Lucio Rossi, head of magnets for CERN, said that 49 magnets had lost their training in the sectors tested and that it was impossible to estimate how many in the entire collider had gone bad. He said the magnets in question had all met specifications and that the problem might stem from having sat outside for a year before they could be installed.
"Training" a magnet involves cranking up its electric current until it fails, and repeating the process to make the magnet able to handle higher currents. Retraining the underperforming components would be both costly and time consuming — two areas where the 15-years-in-the-making, $9 billion project is already stretching it.

At the very least, the magnets won't halt the operations of the LHC, which is expected to get a launch window from CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) this week. That said, underpowered means just that: the magnets won't be able to handle the requisite seven trillion volts it would take for us to rip open rifts to other dimensions and handily destroy the world. As it stands, CERN researchers think the LHC's ailing magnets will be able to handle four trillion at most.

Baby steps, LHC. You'll get there.

Via New York Times