Monday, August 31, 2009

Origin of Mass

One of the hottest topics surrounding the LHC is the Higgs boson. Probably in part because of its catchy name and in part because we give it a great responsibility -- it gives other particles mass.

Along these lines, here is great video highlighting the Higgs that was the winner of the ATLAS/CERN Multimedia Contest:

Nicely done, and a well-deserved winning video.

I'd also like to welcome any Cogito readers! Cogito is a forum for young people who are interested in science to connect with each other and experts. I have been participating in an interview/forum over that way, so head on over and check it out!

A bientôt!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Countdown

Sorry for the hiatus! It's been a busy, fun summer and I will be sure to update you all on my travels... but for today, I'm back to focusing on the LHC.

For the true groupies, a colleague pointed me to a great website:

that actually gives a brief status update on each of the sectors, along with a "Latest News" tidbit. It currently says:

  • Sector 78 being cooled down for powering

  • Sector 45 cool down started

  • Sector 12 being filled with liquid He

  • Cool-down of sector 6-7 started

This should provide a great source of the newest information on the status of the LHC; they update it about once/week. It's a little jargon-y, but don't forget you have a road map.

Next, ENERGY! I'm sure by now you have heard that the LHC is going to come up at 7 TeV (that would be 7,000,000,000,000 electron Volts; 3.5 TeV per beam) during the 2009-2010 run, about 1/2 the design energy (14 TeV). But no worries, we will anyway need some time to commission ATLAS and CMS, and the LHC operators will get a chance to take this new machine for a real spin at about 1/2 max before ramping up to the maximum possible energy when the machine is ready for it. This might have been a bit of a surprise if you hadn't been paying close attention... but being a little conservative for this run is ok in my book.... and it's still 3.5 times the energy of Fermilab's Tevatron (Booyah! not that it's a competition... ok, maybe a little bit ;) ... but they do have more data than us... for now...). Ok, maybe I feel a bit bad about talking smack to the Tevatron when Fermilab's director is so magnanimous.

And, for the skeptics, perhaps you need a 3 minute reminder what went wrong last year, why the bleeding edge sometimes hurts, and why we're doing this in the first place...

...I got goosebumps at the end. The LHC temperature map is back on my dashboard, and it's time to start a new countdown to collisions.

A bientôt!