Segments in this Video

Introduction: Fixing the Large Hadron Collider (01:16)


Sean Riley, a professional rigger, introduces the program with scenes from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and other work sites calling for his expertise.

Comparison to a Racetrack (01:03)

Riley compares the Richmond International Raceway to the Large Hadron Collider. In Geneva, Switzerland, Riley visits the CERN site of the Large Hadron Collider.

The International Research Facility at CERN (00:49)

Designed to research conditions immediately following the Big Bang, the seventeen-mile atom-smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, is broken. Riley arrives at CERN.

The Large Hadron Collider (00:35)

Straddling the French and Swiss border, the Large Hadron Collider is in a circular tunnel where superconducting dipole magnets are connected in a chain. Riley helps replace a magnet.

Superconducting Dipole Magnets (00:56)

Each huge dipole magnet weighs about 35 tons and is filled with delicate technology able to hurl subatomic particles over 600 million mph. To demonstrate, Riley rides a sled track.

Giant Leap for Particle Physics Trips Up (01:35)

Riley explains the atom-smashing motive behind the Hadron Collider research. All worked well at first, but a single spark caused a massive melt down that damaged 39 dipole magnets.

Project Leader Lyn Evans Talks with Riley (01:59)

Project leader, Lyn Evans, admits his dismay at the melt down. Riley explains how the last dipole magnet will be replaced.

Dr. Lucio Rossi Shows the Damaged Magnet (00:60)

Riley visits the magnet graveyard with upgrade project leader, Dr. Lucio Rossi, where he sees the point of failure that provoked the melt down.

Robotic Cranes Move the Magnets (02:08)

Custom robotic cranes move the magnets to avoid any jolt to the delicate technology inside. The magnet is tested before transport underground.

Uninformed Public Regarding CERN (01:31)

Riley contemplates the dangers and importance of the research done at CERN. Above ground, the public has little knowledge of the Large Hadron Collider.

Security at CERN (02:13)

Eye scans and identifying documents are required to go down to the LHC tunnel. Riley carries an emergency mask to escape a potential helium leak.

Transportation in the Tunnel (03:04)

Bicycles transport technicians inside the tunnel. Technicians with various specialties work in the LHC tunnel to replace the new magnet for the particle accelerator. The solder must be perfect.

Dr. Rossi, Magnet Creator (01:02)

Riley accompanies the LHC magnets creator, Dr. Lucio Rossi, on a tour through the tunnel. Dr. Rossi created the tool other physicists will use for their particle research.

Swiss Watch Factory (02:20)

Riley visits a Swiss watch factory where watches are made by hand. Riley explains that the LHC research is an attempt to recreate the moment in time just after the Big Bang.

Delicate Transportation of the Magnet (03:28)

The last magnet is transported along a highway to the shaft descending to the tunnel. Any bump would delay the operation a month.

Dr. Rossi Explains the Magnets' Inner Workings (02:10)

Two streams of protons going in opposite directions are channeled inside the steel tube of the dipole magnet at near speed of light velocity. Dr. Rossi shows his superconducting cable.

Einstein's Formula on the Racetrack (01:25)

Riley demonstrates the concepts behind Einstein's formula, e=mc^2, on the racetrack.

Particle Detecting Cameras and the Higgs Boson (02:05)

Four particle-detecting Compact Muon Solenoid cameras capture the tracks of particles like quarks, muons and leptons before they decay. Researchers look for the Higgs boson.

Critics Fear a Black Hole (00:39)

Some critics fear the experiments at LHC might create a black hole. Riley polls the public reaction to this unlikely possibility.

The Magnet Descends into the Tunnel (05:47)

The magnet precariously descends into the tunnel. A five-mile trip--at a snail's pace--takes the magnet to its place in the tunnel.

The CERN Fire Brigade (03:01)

An nuclear facility poses unique challenges: cryogenics, gases, asphyxiation, high voltage electricity and radioactivity. The fire crew trains for a Helium leak and rapid victim evacuation.

CERN Lunchroom, Scientific Motivation (05:37)

The replacement magnet must negotiate around the particle detector. Riley observes the scientists' lunchroom. He talks with an electrical technician about motivation for LHC research.

Difficult Job Well Done (03:38)

Hydraulic pistons lower the magnet and special robots place it in the chain. The connections must be exactly soldered as Dr. Rossi oversees the job completed. The LHC is restored.

Credits: Atom Smasher: World's Toughest Fixes, Season 2 (00:23)

Credits: Atom Smasher: World's Toughest Fixes, Season 2

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Atom Smasher: World's Toughest Fixes, Season 2

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You don’t want to miss master rigger Sean Riley’s biggest fix ever! Check out this incredible machine measuring 17 miles around—and worth seven billion dollars. The Large Hadron Collider is the largest atom-smasher built in history: a colossal scientific instrument buried 300 feet underground, spanning two countries and designed to recreate conditions a billionth of a second after the Big Bang for groundbreaking research. This remarkable machine could be our key to unlocking the secrets of the universe except for one tiny thing: it’s broken. Nine months ago the world watched in horror as this mother of all atom-smashers almost self-destructed. Now Riley has an exclusive inside view: repairing the final critical component of the Large Hadron Collider and restarting the greatest scientific adventure since we landed a man on the moon. A National Geographic Production. (50 minutes)

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL52275

Copyright date: ©2009

Closed Captioned

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