The much-heralded Large Hadron Collider built in tunnels beneath the French-Swiss border has been officially opened, even though it is not working.
Europe’s leading scientists donned suits instead of white coats to attend the inauguration of the multi billion euro machine, designed to explain the origins of the universe.
The fact that a faulty electrical connection last month led to a massive helium leak – putting it temporarily out of action – did not seem to put them off.
But the ceremony was a far cry from the celebrations and media fanfare that greeted the start of the experiment on September 10.
The Collider is a 27-kilometre circular tunnel in which parallel beams of protons accelerate close to the speed of light.
In the wake of the unexpected electrical fault, scientists said that with repairs and the obligatory winter maintenance period, the first date set for a restart would have to be early Spring.