The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile-long (27-km) underground ring designed to smash protons traveling at 99.9 percent of the speed of light, was created mainly to authenticate a hypothetical subatomic particle called the Higgs boson. During testing in 2009, the particle accelerator, which is buried 328 feet (100 m) underground near Geneva, Switzerland, mysteriously began to overheat. Scientists eventually worked out that “a bit of baguette” dropped by a passing bird had knocked out an electrical substation above the accelerator, causing the power to shut down.
The baguette that brought down the Large Hadron Collider:
- The happy bird and its hunk of bread were discovered at a compensating capacitor, one of the points where the mains electrical supply enters the collider from aboveground.
- The Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider. It is the largest machine in the world.
- In 2012, the Large Hadron Collider confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson, first postulated by British physicist Peter Higgs in 1964.