Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LHC Ready for Beam 1

I'm sitting in a conference room in Building 40 at CERN, watching the live webcast.

Here's the news so far:

Beam 1 will enter at Point 2 and start out going clockwise. They will do a few shorter tests, stopping the beam with collimators at various points and running tests before sending it all the way around. The picture shows the ring layout for reference.

9:26am: They are taking a short break to get ready. The conference room has filled up now, and we are enjoying the commentary. There's definitely a buzz, even as we laugh at some of the sillier comments...

9:34am: Lyn Evans gives the ok to inject from Point 2 to Point 3... this proton beam will be at 450 GeV. And there's the flash of the beam! It's about to be injected.

9:38am: They have removed the block at Point 2 and are about to send the beam through Sector 23. Success! The beam has gone 3 kilometers through the sector.

9:43am: The next step is to send the beam through 2 more Sectors to Point 5, where it will be stopped by a collimator just before CMS.

9:45am: We should be able to see the beam pass Point 4 on its way to Point 5... false alarm on the first cycle ... and now they see it pass Point 4. At this point the beam has gone 1o kilometers.

9:47am: Everyone chuckles as the commentator is corrected ... CMS is the 2nd-biggest detector, not the biggest ;)

9:55am: The next step is for the beam to pass through CMS to the beam dump just past Point 6. We're watching the screen showing just before the beam dump, waiting to see the beam make it through Sector 56. Ok, it made it to Point 6. The beam dump is the small straight section sticking out past Point 6 on the picture.

10:00am: Lyn Evans estimates that they'll take the beam the rest of the way around within the hour.

10:02am: They've dumped the beam now.

10:06am: The beam has been taken to Point 7. The next step is through Sector 78 to Point 8, which is where the LHCb experiment is located.

10:12am: The coverage is not so great at the moment ... we saw them clapping, but the commentators are sort of clueless right now ... clarification now... The beam made it to Point 8. There were some problems with the cryogenics in Sector 78 yesterday, so this was a big deal.

10:18am: The next step is through Sector 81. The beam made it to Point 1! It's just before ATLAS.

10:23am: The final leg is through ATLAS and Sector 12, at which point the beam will have traversed the entire ring. We're looking for 2 spots on the screen...

10:25am: There it is! The beam has gone all the way around ... applause on screen and in the conference room here. They are attempting a full turn (straight through) now.

They've declared success and people are dispersing now.

A bientôt!


bill said...

when are the particles supposed to collide?

Stephanie Majewski said...

No collisions for a little while yet. It is my understanding that they will try 450 GeV x 450 GeV collisions in a couple weeks. But then they need to get the energies up to 5 TeV x 5 TeV; collisions at those energies probably won't happen until November.