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Professor Peter Higgs will have to wait at least a few additional seasons to find out whether his long-held theory on how matter has mass is right.

That's because officials announced Tuesday that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which could confirm the existence of a theoretical particle name after Higgs, will remain shut down until at least early spring.

The LHC, the world's largest particle collider, is located in a nearly 17-mile-long circular tunnel along the French-Swiss border about 330 feet underground. Built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (or CERN), it promises to push forward theories of particle physics, such as the Higgs Boson, and the fundamental building blocks of all things.

The collider was officially launched on September 10 when the first particle beam was successfully sent around the full circuit. However, it hit a major glitch last week when a mechanical failure triggered a helium leak and forced a shutdown for what was initially reported to be at least two months.

Now it looks like the investigation and repairs won't be finished in time to restart the LHC before CERN's obligatory winter maintenance period, pushing the restart date back to early spring 2009, officials said.



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