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Super-fast collider off to slow start

by Paul Jay, CBC News online

The scientists in charge of an instrument designed to follow the flighty and unpredicable paths of subatomic particles made a rather predictable announcement on Monday, confirming their proton smashing machine wouldn't begin operating until 2008.

Scientists at CERN confirmed the 27-kilometre long Large Hadron Collider buried beneath the Franco-Swiss border would not begin operations until spring 2008, confirming earlier reports.

The delay, the result of series of setbacks, is a blow to the particle physics community and, by extension, research in astronomy, cosmology and chemistry. The collider is essential to particle physics, since by smashing protons together at high speeds it will provide the experimental backbone needed to prove or disprove many theories regarding the origin of the universe, black holes, and the nature of matter. I wrote a feature on it earlier this year.

It's also a setback for we in the scientific press, who have been desperately waiting to write the headline: Origin of Universe Explained. Looks like we'll have to settle for older theories.

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