Giant particle collider an epic fail so far

The biggest, most expensive physics machine in the world is riddled with thousands of bad electrical connections.

Many of the magnets meant to whiz high-energy subatomic particles around a 17-mile underground racetrack have mysteriously lost their ability to operate at high energies…

Physicists on both sides of the Atlantic say they are confident that the European machine will produce groundbreaking science — eventually — and quickly catch up to an American rival, even at the lower energy. All big accelerators have gone through painful beginnings.

“These are baby problems,” said Peter Limon, a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., who helped build the collider.

But some physicists admit to being impatient. “I’ve waited 15 years,” said Nima Arkani-Hamed, a leading particle theorist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. “I want it to get up running. We can’t tolerate another disaster. It has to run smoothly from now.”