Five Small Animals That Messed With Big Science
The weasel that paused the world’s largest particle collider joins a zoo of critters that have tinkered with major science projects.
Unlocking the secrets of the universe can be a massive undertaking. But as researchers have learned, it only takes a single furry or winged beast to throw our cosmic endeavors right off the rails.
This week, work at the world’s most powerful particle accelerator came to an abrupt halt due to a power outage. The Large Hadron Collider, run by CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, is the huge underground machine where scientists discovered the Higgs boson in 2012.
According to an internal status update, the cause of the LHC’s electrical glitch was a fouine, French for “weasel” or “marten.” The mischievous mammal seems to have chewed into one of the collider’s electrical transformers, triggering a short circuit. Unfortunately for the animal,