http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandte ... lider.htmlTom Hanks to switch on repaired Large Hadron Collider
Tom Hanks, the actor and star of Forrest Gump, will turn on the Large Hadron Collider, designed to recreate the 'Big Bang', when it is finally repaired.
The giant underground machine, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, suffered a catastrophic malfunction soon after being switched on amid a fanfare of publicity last September.
A faulty electrical connection led to a leak of super-cold helium causing damage estimated at £20 million to the device, operated by Cern, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva.
As a result, 53 of the magnets used to accelerate subatomic particles around the machine's 17-mile circular tunnel underneath the Franco-Swiss border have had to be brought to the surface for repair or cleaning.
Hanks was approached about the move while filming his latest film Angels and Demons in which he plays a Harvard University academic investigating a plot to annihilate the Vatican with 0.25 grams of antimatter stolen from Cern.
Steve Myers, Cern's director of accelerators and technology, told Nature News that he gave the actor a tour of the laboratory on February 13 and asked him if he would return for the switch-on, to which the actor agreed.
Cern's head of communications, James Gillies, confirmed that the facility would be delighted to have Hanks there to restart the collider, which organisers hope will take place in June.
The machine is designed to simulate the "Big Bang", which started the universe 15 billion years ago, by smashing subatomic particles together at energies never before achieved.
Scientists hope this will help them find the answers to big questions, such as what causes mass and whether hidden dimensions exist in space.
There is also a possibility of tiny black holes being created in the Collider. Experts insist that if this happens, they will pose no threat.
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