NP interview 3 h ahead of BBC: LHC Collider CERN halted until next year 2009
View NP Interview: "Frank and the magic machine" LHC collider eng. talks
Collider halted until next year By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News
The incident was probably caused by a faulty connection between magnets
The Large Hadron Collider near Geneva will be shut off until spring 2009 while engineers probe a magnet failure.
The incident on 19 September caused a tonne of liquid helium to leak out into the experiment's 27km-long tunnel.
Officials said the time required to fully investigate the problem precluded a re-start before the lab's winter maintenance period.
The collider is built to smash protons together at huge speeds, recreating conditions moments after the Big Bang.
Scientists hope it will shed light on fundamental questions in physics.
"Coming immediately after the very successful start of LHC operation on 10 September, this is undoubtedly a psychological blow," said Robert Aymar, director-general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern), in a statement.
But he praised the skill and preparation of the teams involved in building the particle accelerator.