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07 August 2008

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez! Large Hadron Collider cranks up on 10 September! near Geneva!

The New York Times
Friday 8 August 2008

Date Set for Operation
of Large Hadron Collider

by Dennis Overbye

Physicists, start your engines.

Officials at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, outside Geneva, announced Thursday that their new particle accelerator, the world’s largest, would begin operation on Wednesday 10 September. On that date, the physicists and engineers will make the first attempt to circulate a beam of protons around a 17-mile-long super-cooled underground racetrack known as the Large Hadron Collider.

The collider, 14 years and U$8,000,000,000 in the making, has been built to smash together protons that have been accelerated to energies of 7,000,000,000,000 electron volts, and examine the remains for clues to the origin of mass and new forces and particles in the universe.

But the collisions will not happen immediately. The first step on the journey to new physics will happen this weekend, when engineers test their method of injecting high-energy protons, which are produced in a separate accelerator, the Super Proton Synchrotron, into the collider by sending a batch through one part of the racetrack.

In September, the first protons to circle the entire ring will have a relatively modest energy of 450,000,000,000 electron volts. Once the physicists and engineers have learned to drive their new machine and had a few collisions at that energy, they will ramp up the energy as fast as they can to 5,000,000,000,000 electron volts — unexplored territory.

“Our main objective is to get to 5 TeV,” Lyn Evans, project director at CERN, said in an e-mail message. “How long it will take, I don’t know, but with the quality of the instrumentation, software, and above all the people we have, I am optimistic.”

Once they get up to speed later this fall, the collider will run for a month or two of “pilot physics.”

CERN shuts down for the winter to save money on its electric bill. While it sleeps, engineers will “train” the superconducting magnets that steer the energetic particles around their track to handle the high currents needed to produce fields strong enough to bend the paths of 7-trillion-electron-volt protons. When the collider awakens again in the spring it will be at full strength, and physicists will be face to face with their dreams.

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Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company


patfromch said...

Nope, I am not afraid. Not after I have heard that one below.

their abilities to run this thing MUST be better dan droppin rhymes knowwhatimsayin ? Otherwise Vleeptron will be the first to know if I see something strange happening around Lake Geneva

Jim Olson said...

Yah, I'm not convinced this is a good idea. When this thing produces an uncontrolled quantum singularity, we're screwed.

Jim Purdy said...

I've Got Einstein on my Mind
by Jim Purdy

Listen to me one and all, Oh dear,
For bad news I bring, The End is Near.

In the UK, the Daily Mail tried to clue us in,
That those mad scientists are going to do us in.

Yes indeed, they have published a news article
Warning us of a runaway sub-atomic particle.

The Large Hadron Collider is to blame,
And our universe will soon end in flame.

Oh man, the fireworks will be spectacular,
It'll be so big, I won't need my binocular.

As the end nears, some may grieve and mourn,
But I'll enjoy the show, just eating my popcorn.

Someday I'll entertain grandkids with the story I'll tell,
Oh. Wait. I guess I won't have any grandkids, oh well.

In college, we laughed at those physics dorks,
Always talking about their tachyons and quarks.

Yes, soon the world will be gone, we'll be no more,
Thanks to guys named Fermi, Heisenberg and Bohr.

So, as I await the end of all mankind,
I've got Albert Einstein on my mind.

dave walsh said...

Can't wait . . . Go Super C !

Vleeptron Dude said...

Me neither, Dave, I'm genuinely excited about the startup -- and I think today's the big day!

(But theyll be running it at half-power first, then they shut down for the winter to save on heating costs, then in the spring they crank it up again at full power.)

Maybe I'll have time to actually get a grasp on the Standard Model before LHC determines the Standard Model needs to be scrapped 'cause they can't find any Higgs Bosons.