Sadly, the Large Hadron Collider is shut down for now. There was damage done during testing, and now that it’s winter they turned it off (more or less) anyway for maintenance. Electricity is very expensive in wintertime, so that’s when they schedule regular fix-uppery.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to cool stuff about the LHC! The CERN podcast has been doing interviews with different people, including not just CERN personnel, but also people who are interested in science but outside of the particle physics world. Brian Cox – physicist/rock star/sex symbol – has been doing the interviews, and the interviewees have included comedian Chris Morris (who completely eats up the physics; he is a voracious reader and is fascinated by the science), Doctor Who and Torchwood star John Barrowman, and even my own self.
The latest interview is with Ed Vaizey, a Member of Parliament. You have to listen to this interview to believe it: an actual politician who gets it, who sees the importance of the science and what the LHC is doing. It’s an amazingly refreshing viewpoint for someone in government, and I wish that this were far more common.