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Restart of Big Bang Machine delayed again

Scientists say the world's largest atomic particle smasher near Geneva should be fired back up sometime in September, weeks later than hoped.

The Large Hadron Collider, also known as the Big Bang Machine, suffered a cooling malfunction just nine days after scientists turned it on in September 2008. The repair bill stands at around €20 million (SFr30.1 million).

The machine, which took 13 years and €3 billion to build, runs for 27km under the Swiss-French border and is designed to recreate what happened when the universe was one trillionth of a second old.

Billed as the world's largest machine, the collider must run at temperatures colder than outer space. A helium leak in the cooling system crippled two magnets used to help accelerate atomic particles.

Physicists originally hoped to restart the machine in June but the date has been pushed back several times. They now hope to start it again in September and smash the first particles together sometime in October 2009.


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