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POP! goes the weasel…and CERN’s US$4.4B Large Hadron Collider

The incident was just one of several small glitches that will delay plans to restart the collider by a few days


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GENEVA—It’s one of the physics world’s most complex machines, and it has been immobilized—temporarily—by a weasel.

Spokesman Arnaud Marsollier says the world’s largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN outside of Geneva, has suspended operations because a weasel invaded a transformer that helps power the machine and set off an electrical outage on the evening of April 28.

Authorities say the incident was one of several small glitches that will delay plans to restart the $4.4 billion collider by a few days.

Marsollier says April 29 that the weasel was essentially vapourized in the encounter.

Officials of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN, have been gearing up for new data from the 27-kilometre (17-mile) circuit that runs underground on the Swiss-French border.


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