Fixing the Fan Belt on the Large Hadron Collider
In February 2013 CERN announced that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) would be turned off for a period of two years to allow repairs to be carried out. Some months earlier, boffins had noticed an unusual whining sound every time they fired up the accelerator but ignored it at first, thinking that it would wear itself out. However, now that the Higgs particle has been found, the LHC is standing idle while scientists invent a new particle for it to look for, and CERN decided to use the downtime to finally get it sorted.
The man they called in was Colin Wilbert of Wilbert's Automotive Repairs in Dagenham, and he's optimistic that he will soon have it up and running. "It's probably just the fan belt," he told us. "Or possibly the wheel bearings - which could be a bit tricky, 'cos they don't make 'em for this model any more. But that's the worst-case scenario. It could be something quite simple. When I was called out by Fermilab to investigate a suspicious knocking sound in the Tevatron it turned out to be a tube of Rolos that someone had left in the glove box."