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World's Largest Atom Smasher Temporarily Disabled .... by a Weasel

by Associated Press /
The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment is one of two large general-purpose particle physics detectors built on the proton-proton Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland and France. Approximately 3,600 people, representing 183 scientific institutes and 38 countries, form the CMS collaboration who built and now operate the detector. It is located in an underground cavern at Cessy in France, just across the border from Geneva.
The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment is one of two large general-purpose particle physics detectors built on the proton-proton Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland and France. Approximately 3,600 people, representing 183 scientific institutes and 38 countries, form the CMS collaboration who built and now operate the detector. It is located in an underground cavern at Cessy in France, just across the border from Geneva.Rex Features / AP

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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 Thursday night.

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

Marsollier says Friday that the weasel died — and little remains of it.

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

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