As many will know, CERN, the European Centre for Nuclear Research based near Geneva in Switzerland, has recently been working through the process of restarting the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) which is the chief technical component of most of the main experiments currently being run by CERN, looking into the fundamental structure of matter (And antimatter for that matter!) and trying to recreate conditions similar to those just a trillionth of a second after the semi-mythical Big Bang.
Recently the restart has been further delayed, apparently by a short circuit in one of the LHC modules, and although it was announced this morning that it had been fixed by blasting a power surge through it, this is just an example of the delaying tactics we are likely to see over the next few months, all of which will need to be sorted out before the collider can be brought up to full speed. However these expected pseudo-problems are merely short term distractions for the public, while CERN tries to counter a much more serious issue.
FACTS was recently approached by some of the boffins at CERN to help them with a fundamental problem which lies behind the long delay to the recommencement of operations at the Large Hadron Collider. The problem is they are desperately short of Large Hadrons. “We have a real problem.” Said Professor Wawrzyniec Ho: “Because we haven’t used the collider for a couple of years, we kind of forgot about all the Large Hadrons we had lying around, and now most of them have simply disappeared.”
Large Hadrons, which look for all the world like a slightly fuzzy yellow golf ball, normally fill the Large Hadron bins which are dotted around the LHC facility, so that the scientists can simply reach in and grab a handful whenever they want to run an experiment. But because the collider has been closed down for more than two years, most of the Large Hadron’s they had in store have been filched by the staff for their own nefarious purposes, and even an extensive rake of the local golf courses only managed to find a slack handful. (The local lizards apparently find any Large Hadrons which got lost in the rough and bury them in the sand, thinking they are eggs.)
So CERN approached FACTS to see if our readers can help them in the search for Large Hadrons. It seems that they are often found lodged in the darker recesses under the chassis of HGV trucks and trailers and are even to be found rattling around in the back of Transits and Sprinters and the like.
The best way to collect them is simply to try and trap them in a thermos flask, which will hold five or six of them at a time. (Be careful not to shoogle them too much of course, especially if you only have two or three in the flask, because after all that would cause lots of Large Hadron collisions, and could bring about the end of the universe through the formation of a multi-phasic anti-matter Black Hole.) However, so long as you are careful, and do not handle the Large Hadrons with bare-hands (They can cause severe finger-droop after prolonged contact.) there should be no problem.
So next time you are doing a daily inspection of a vehicle or you have a trailer or tractor unit over an inspection pit, keep your eyes open for these little rascals. Any you find, you can just pop into a thermos flask until you get them home. Then you can store them in a shoe box under the bed. When the box is full, just wrap it up carefully, mark it with a few radiation signs, write ‘EXTREME CAUTION: Large Hadrons – Handle with care’ on the four sides and then simply address it to:
Doctor W.Ho, Professor of Janitorial Supplies, Department of Advanced Hyperbole,
CERN, Route de Meyrin 385, 1217 Meyrin, Switzerland