Posts Tagged 'CERN'

Beam Day for the LHC!

Today is the day!  The first beam of protons in the Large Hadron Collider will be circulated today at about 2 AM Central Time, September 10th.  This is a big milestone for high energy physics, and you can find information about it all over the blogosphere and the internet at large.  I recommend that you check here for Cosmic Variance’s liveblog, and the CERN website for information on the startup, as well as a live webcast.  Not sure exactly what they’ll be showing on the webcast, but if your an insomniac (or a European), and you’re looking for some physics-related entertainment (and who isn’t?), it should be worth checking out.

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First Protons in the LHC this Weekend!

As reported by Scientific American:

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), nearing readiness outside Geneva, Switzerland, was designed to smash protons together at the highest energies ever achieved in hopes of unlocking new secrets of the universe. But to date, all that’s traveled through its circular beam pipe are ping-pong balls to test for obstructions.

That’s all about to change. This weekend, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, plans to test a key component of the accelerator by injecting a low-intensity beam of protons clockwise into the LHC and letting it travel three kilometers (two miles) through the machine.

Assuming all goes as planned, the lab announced today that it will send the first beam around all 27 kilometers (17 miles) of pipe on September 10, the machine’s official start-up date.

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Interesting Look into the Guts of the LHC

With the Large Hadron Collider scheduled to inject its first protons sometime in August, there have been plenty of articles written about it. Most of these articles are either aimed at the popular or scholarly levels, with little in between for the interested semi-knowlegeable student.  (And don’t forget the important question of whether tiny black holes produced in the LHC will eat our world.)

Well, John from Cosmic Variance has bridged the gap with an excellent article about his personal involvement with one of the detectors in the CMS experiment.  Even though I am generally not all that into “tech specs” about such experiments, I enjoyed this peek inside the actual life of the LHC.

It’s mind-boggling to think about the size of the LHC project.  Looking at the complexity and care involved in this one component, and extrapolating this to the thousands of other components involved in the experiment really brings you face-to-face with the magnitude of this undertaking.

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