Stone Marten or Beech Marten (Martes foina), Normandy, France
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April 29, 2016 4:01 PM EDT

A weasel-like animal shut down the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland, early Friday after weaseling into a transformer.

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider experienced a “severe electrical perturbation” that “damaged” transformer connections due to a “short circuit caused by fouine,” according to a briefing that the organization published. The French dictionary Larousse translates “fouine” as both a weasel and a beech marten.

A CERN spokesperson Arnaud Marsollier told NPR that such accidents can happen, given the facility is in the countryside.

As the organization’s own briefing joked, “Not the best week for LHC!”



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