As death threats preceded the startup of the Large Hadron Collider
(LHC) last year, one might not be surprised at foul play as testing is performed prior to the restart of the LHC. But fowl play?
The LHC has been out of action for over a year
, due to a helium leak that caused it to be shut down on September 19th of last year, nine days after its start-up. With the LHC repaired, scientists have been running tests in anticipation of a restart later this month. However, the testing process was halted on Monday after the power to the LHC failed.
A CERN spokeswoman, Christine Sutton, said scientists discovered fowl play:
"The problem related to the high voltage supply. We get mains voltage from the grid, and there was an interruption in the power supply, just like you might have a power cut at home. The person who went to investigate discovered bread and a bird eating the bread."
Sutton said the bird was discovered at a compensating capacitor, which cut power to one of the LHC's cooling plants.
Physicists hope to use the LHC to prove the existence of the Higgs boson, or God particle, which gives matter in the universe its mass. However, some are concerned that the LHC might actually end the world, by creating microscopic black holes or strangelets.
Fowl play? Check that policy for coverage...
A strangelet is a "hypothetical object consisting of a bound state of roughly equal numbers of up, down, and strange quarks." The problem with strangelets is that theoretically a strangelet, upon coming in contact with normal matter, could convert the ordinary matter to strange matter.
Most scientists don't believe any of that is possible, and that such events are the stuff of science fiction. I guess nature, or at least, birds, are keeping us from finding out, for now.
Curiously, the Aflac mascot duck was unavailable for comment.