Monday, August 11, 2008

29 Days and Counting...

You might think I'd be counting down to the date the first proton beams will circulate through the Large Hadron Collider (expected September 10th), or perhaps I should be counting down to the first proton-proton collisions (expected sometime after September 10th...). Bringing up the LHC will be a gradual process, since it's an amazingly complicated machine, and consequently there will be many exciting firsts over the next few months. But I'm counting down to a personal milestone on September 8th -- the date I get on an airplane and move to CERN for a year.

For those of you who don't know, CERN is located near Geneva, Switzerland and is very close to the French border. I'm super excited about moving there and getting to be at the center of the action for the LHC and the ATLAS experiment. But, I'm a bit nervous too. For a girl from the Midwest (go Cubs!), moving to Europe is a big deal. I have a very long to-do list for my move, and it seems like every time I cross something off I add two more items in its place. There are a ton of decisions to make (do I cancel my iPhone plan? should I sell my car? where should I have my November absentee ballot mailed? how many pairs of shoes do I really need to bring?). I hunted around and collected some photos for inspiration (see left) that I stuck at the top of my ever-growing to-do list ... it's a nice way to keep me focused on the goal when it's so easy to be paralyzed by the details.

In the wake of the Olympic opening ceremonies, the LHC opening ceremonies are just beginning (the first protons were injected today). Since watching physicists in front of their computer screens isn't quite as exciting as the men's 4x100 freestyle relay, the TV coverage at CERN will be limited ;) But I hope that over the next year this blog will be a nice informal way for those of you in the states to keep in touch with what's going on at the LHC and ATLAS.

A bientôt!

No comments: