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Power Science

Revived LHC Could Run Through the Winter 164

Jack Spine writes "When you are powering nuclear particle beams that could drill a hole through 30 metres of copper, you don't want to be paying a premium for electricity. However, Cern scientists are determined that the delayed experiment will get some workable results, and so are preparing to run the machine throughout the winter."
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Revived LHC Could Run Through the Winter

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Cern should be CERN, as it stands for "Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire"

    • by 2.7182 ( 819680 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @10:51PM (#28118651)
      I definitely think that you meant to nitpick in this case. Don't deny it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by antonlacon ( 821983 )
      It's a British article. As such, the writing style is correct.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DerekLyons ( 302214 )

        Actually, the British follow the universal practice of properly capitalizing acronyms. The literate ones do anyways.

        As such, no the writing style is not correct.

        • by Jim Efaw ( 3484 ) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @01:32AM (#28119575) Homepage

          This has been discussed previously on Slashdot []. British writing often uses only initial-caps for pronounceable acronyms. The BBC is especially aggressive about this, resulting in things like "Nasa", which looks like a foreign name at first glance from an American eye. Why the BBC differentiates "BAFTA" from "NASA" in their style guide is a mystery to me; however, in recent BBC articles, it appears that the BBC is writing "Bafta" in actual practice.

          BBC House Style and Writing Guidelines, September 2007 (in PDF [] or raw HTML []):

          "Usually, if an acronym is pronounced as a word, use an initial capital only. If it is pronounced as individual letters, use all capitals:

          • Aids Nato Acas Unicef
          • BBC CD GCSE PC
          • CD-Rom (pronounced partly as letters, partly as a word)

          But follow the preference of organisations with their own names and brands: DfES BAFTA MORI RADA

          • by DirePickle ( 796986 ) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @03:51AM (#28120275)
            If we're really picking nits here, strictly a "pronounceable acronym" is redundant. Abbreviations like BBC, CD, and FBI are initialisms, if you want a special word for them. I'm surprised that the BBC isn't anal about that usage also.
          • The worst abuse of this by the BBC (not the Bbc, note) is that they capitalise PC (as in, Police Constable) as Pc in headlines. It's possibly understandable to do this for real acronyms (i.e. abbreviations that are words) but doing it for initialisms like this is both ugly and wrong according to every English grammar and typography book that I've read.
        • by Eevee ( 535658 )

          Actually, the British follow the universal practice of properly capitalizing acronyms.

          It's not very universal if others have different rules. In particular, many American publications use small caps [] for acronyms such as NASA or CERN.

    • by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @11:30PM (#28118887)

      CEPLARN (Conseil Europeen Pour LA Recherche Nucleaire) would be a cooler name, it sounds vaguely Klingon.

      • OMG the LHC is a Klingon plot to destroy the Earth. I wonder if they tried this on Vulcan...
      • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @12:11AM (#28119103) Journal
        I'll see your CEPLARN and raise you a FASOTRAGRABRUPAC. Nothing like Navy acronyms, they sound like Ringworld proper names.

        Hmm... so that's where he got them...

        • And I thought CINCLANTFLT was cool...

          • Both of those are retarded. I think they missed the point of acronyms.

            CINCLANTFLT = Commander in Chief, US Atlantic Fleet

            CIN = Commander in Chief, .... ok
            CL = ??? wth?
            ANT = Atlantic ... wtf?
            FLT = Fleet ...

            The first part is an acronym the rest is just garbage and then for one word they just dropped the vowels.
            • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

              by Hurricane78 ( 562437 )

              No, no... you got it all wrong. It's

              Classless Idiot Nitpicking Comically Lame AC, Now Trolling Fascinatingly Lame 'Tard.

              Or was it this new weapon? The

              Colossus Isotope Nuclear Cannon Linked Annihilation Nationwide Terror and Fear Launching Tank?

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Muad'Dave ( 255648 )
              CINC = Commander-in-Chief
              LANT = atLANTic
              FLT = Fleet
              As opposed to CINCPACFLT, of course.
        • I read that as FATSOSTRAGICRAPRHUBARBWITHTUPAC. So the NAVY killed them! Who would have known...

        • by sznupi ( 719324 )

          I guess they are routinelly too close to Cthulhu. Or habe large Mayan ancestry...

    • by Attila the Bun ( 952109 ) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @06:03AM (#28121049)

      Cern should be CERN, as it stands for "Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire"

      Actually it doesn't. The Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire was a provisional body created in 1952, and no longer exists. In 1954 the European Laboratory for Particle Physics was founded, and the C.E.R.N. was dissolved. The laboratory is named CERN, and although it is conventionally capitalised, it is not an acronym.

  • Odd... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nametaken ( 610866 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @10:40PM (#28118563)

    They were normally going to be closed during the winter?

    • Re:Odd... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DavidRawling ( 864446 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @10:43PM (#28118589)
      I guess power costs more during the Winter months, especially if you have a billion people using electric heaters.
      • Re:Odd... (Score:5, Funny)

        by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @10:45PM (#28118599) Homepage Journal
        Its Europe, send packages of condoms in the mail and directions to orgies. That will keep those buggers warm.
      • Re:Odd... (Score:4, Funny)

        by DavidRawling ( 864446 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @10:47PM (#28118619)

        I should clarify that when I say "I guess", what I mean is that it's in the damn article as well as being good old common sense. I suppose if you didn't read before posting (9 paragraphs is too long?) and you don't have common sense ...

        ... well then you'd be on /., right?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Power being more expensive in the winter is only common sense if you pay your own power bill...
          Something he probably doesn't have to do living in his mother's basement...

        • Re:Odd... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @11:09PM (#28118759)
          OK, I read the article. Here is my summary:

          We are not going to shut down LHC for the winter due to high electricity costs. If it never occured to you that we would, since the apparatus and the staff would seemingly cost so much more than the electricity anyways, congratulations, it turns out you were right even when we didn't know it yet, thus we will be running the collider and everything is exactly as you would have assumed had you never read this article at all. Thanks for your time.

          • You should write for cliff notes. Or just try to get First Post. You would be doing the slashdot community a favor...
          • Re:Odd... (Score:5, Funny)

            by deglr6328 ( 150198 ) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @01:42AM (#28119627)

            Translation: "Fuck! D-zero []'s collected like 6 inverse femtobarns [] of integrated luminosity and we're just sitting on our asses looking at cosmic ray hits!!! Who gives a shit about power $$$?! Switch the fucker on!!"

          • This has been a source of confusion on Slashdot before. They usually run an experiment through the year, then stop over the winter to regroup and check the machine. This time, they haven't been running an experiment, so they've saved money which they can spend running the machine over winter, when EDF (French/Swiss power company) hike the prices up due to increased demand. IAAPL
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by moosesocks ( 264553 )

            Maybe not that obvious.

            Most major experiments shut down for at least a few months out of the year for scheduled maintenance and/or improvements. Additionally, most big projects don't have the funding to operate 24/7/365 -- cryo expenses are particularly staggering.

            Given the amount of time it takes to warm/cool the LHC, it makes sense to schedule all of this maintenance all in one go. Once you're in that frame of mind, you can reschedule your operations to reduce electricity costs...and why wouldn't you?

        • First, it wouldn't necessarily be common sense. My electric does not cost significantly more during the winter. For the others and their fun with speculation, my heat is paid for out of my monthly association fees, and it's a gas bill, not electric.

          The point, however, is that I did read the article (it was in the summary too smartass), and I'm surprised that the LHC wouldn't run during the winter even if the power is more expensive. We're talking about, what, a 9 billion dollar facility? They're worried

          • by cblack ( 4342 )

            Core bit I think you are missing is that it takes a lot of energy to cool all the necessary parts down to near absolute zero (I believe I read somewhere that it takes a couple weeks to do the initial chill at least). I imagine the cost to keep it running (with or w/o ongoing injections) is less due to the initialization sequence, as it were.

          • by hughk ( 248126 )

            My electric does not cost significantly more during the winter.

            Actually your supplier is paying differing amounts for power because at wholesale level, it is demand driven.

            For the others and their fun with speculation, my heat is paid for out of my monthly association fees, and it's a gas bill, not electric.

            Again, as you use gas, so does everybody else and not only does your consumption increase when the weather cools down, but the overall demand pushes the price of gas up. Since some power is gas generate

            • Everywhere I have ever lived, power costs substantially more in the summer, allegedly because of air conditioning (but around here it's probably because of arc lamps.)

              • by hughk ( 248126 )

                Yep, air-con is a serious consumer of power, but I'm living in central Europe at the moment so we don't often have it, let alone use it in domestic premises. Shops, hotels and some other businesses may use it.

                Power for the retail customer here seems to be the same over a 12 month period. For a serious user, the power price comes down to whatever you manage to negotiate. The price is set in hourly chunks and is negotiated up to several months ahead.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        They should have built a second LHC in the southern hemisphere. That way they could operate all year.
      • electric heaters aren't very popular in europe.

      • Tom Hanks said in a recent interview that CERN has created anti-matter but let it destroy itself because they didn't want to interfere with anyone's year end vacation.
    • Switzerland. Weather. Yay.
    • That thing costs how many billions, and they shut it down because of higher electricity rates?

      I thought it would have its own power generators.

      What's the total cost of ownership compared to the cost of power?

      I guess they don't have the concept of "the cost of lost opportunity"

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Well clearly they do have a concept of "the cost of lost opportunity" since they are running the thing over winter. CERN has a deal with a French power provider in which they are provided with power at reduced rates for most of the year, except for 22 days in winter. During this time the rate is very high. These are the days they are planning to run it anyway. Why did they make this deal?

        Big experiments often require lots of scheduled maintenance for upgrades, repairs, fixing annoying design bugs that stop

        • With all it's magnets and electricity usage, you can't convince me they are anywhere near efficient enough to NOT generate loads of waste heat. In the winter -- especially during those '22 days', when electricity is at a premium, I suspect it has a good deal to due with those being the shortest and among the coldest days of winter. That means during the time of highest electrical cost, they are also likely to have the coldest outdoor temperatures.

          There is a high amount of power going into the facility. T

    • Yes, that's standard. Electricity costs are enormous there in the winter, and most personnel want to go on vacation anyway, so they shut down most of the buildings and stop any experiments.

      This year is an exception

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hughk ( 248126 )

      I am currently working in IT at the trading arm of a major European energy supplier. Large variations in seasonal power demands are normal. Major consumers often attempt to hedge their consumption on the market (they may also link to the weather indices as one element is clearly ambient temperature).

      Normally, reserves have to be used over the winter peaks. One of Cern's suppliers, EDF uses a lot of nuclear but that tends to run at a fairly constant rate. Power tends to get balanced by the use of hydroelectr

    • Yes, that was always the plan. Because its colder then, electricity costs for all that supercooling are higher. Oh.
  • by SupremoMan ( 912191 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @10:42PM (#28118579)

    Or till Earth is destroyed. Whichever comes first...

  • I'm a tag

  • by viyh ( 620825 )
    Let's get this show on the road! Then we can start flinging some of those black holes at North Korea!
  • by w0mprat ( 1317953 ) on Wednesday May 27, 2009 @11:19PM (#28118821)
    I do recall a paper suggesting that the experiment itself will interfere with itself back through time and prevent the machine from ever powering up.

    I can't find the paper on Google though, I really need to read it it'll help me figure out why the time machine I'm building doesn't work.
    • Great book. Must get a new copy. Mine died years ago. Atleast in this time line.....
      • I've been trying forever to remember the title of that book.

        Sadly, my copy seems to have vanished from my bookshelves as well. (Hmm. This can't be a good sign...)

    • by Tanman ( 90298 )

      Well, so far, your memory seems to be correct. Has it started running yet or is it still being re-cooled or re-heated or re-blasted or re-started or whatever it is I always seem to re-read about articles regarding the LHC.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by noidentity ( 188756 )

      I do recall a paper suggesting that the experiment itself will interfere with itself back through time and prevent the machine from ever powering up. I can't find the paper on Google though, I really need to read it it'll help me figure out why the time machine I'm building doesn't work.

      You didn't want me to tell you this, but you found it, built the machine, and caused a disaster, then went back and made it so you wouldn't find the paper.

  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @12:03AM (#28119059) Homepage
    This may have to do with the fact that Fermilab could find the Higgs particle very soon [], and then the LHC would have been scooped on its single most important reason for existing.
    • Sure. It COULD. Providing it exists. I also COULD find a million dollars in the street... VERY SOON! Or maybe the day before I die. Or maybe not at all. See the connection?
      • by Werthless5 ( 1116649 ) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @01:56AM (#28119733)

        Unfortunately, Fermilab is unable to probe the highest possible mass ranges of the Higgs. Not without running indefinitely, that is.

        The LHC is capable of this, probably by the end of next year we'll have either fully excluded or discovered the Higgs. And a bunch of other stuff

        The biggest reason to run through winter is so that we can better understand the experiment. More run time = more interesting stuff for physicists to do! The more time we run uninterrupted, the more quickly we'll be able to fine tune the instruments.

  • by Werthless5 ( 1116649 ) on Thursday May 28, 2009 @01:45AM (#28119645)

    Is it a slow news day or what?

  • ... You... You had me at "Nuclear Particle Beams!"
  • Let's see how Duke Nukem Forever [] does first...

  • You just have to give it the time.

    Without a value of time, that statement is useless.

  • I was relieved last year when I found they couldnt make a black hole.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker