Call it the matchup between the Higgs boson and a bread crumb. And the bread crumb seems to have prevailed in this round.
The $6.5-billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland — which is supposed to prove the existence of the Higgs boson, or “God particle,” which gives matter in the universe its mass and simulate the Big Bang — apparently was no match for a small bird with a bread crumb.
It seems the folks running the LHC had to postpone their plans last week to emulate the universe’s Big Bang because of a piece of baguette. According to a news report, LHC — “designed to recreate the conditions present at the beginning of time — had to be switched off after a bird dropped a bit of baguette into it, causing it to overheat.”
The bird allegedly dropped the bread crumb on a compensating capacitor – where the main electricity supply enters the collider – cutting power to the LHC during a test run.
Nice to see nature still knows how to keep us humble. The lesson is that even the most thoroughly and painstakingly laid plans — and grandest visions (in this case, uncovering the origin of the universe) — can be tripped up by the most unexpected and down-to-earth things. Then again, maybe more organizations could use birds with bread crumbs to make decision makers think twice about pouring money into mega-expensive black-hole projects.