CERN

CERN completes transition to lead-ion running at the LHC

Four days is all it took for the LHC operations team at CERN to complete the transition from protons to lead ions in the LHC. After extracting the final proton beam of 2010 on 4 November, commissioning the lead-ion beam was underway by early afternoon. First collisions were recorded at 00:30 CET on 7 November, and stable running conditions marked the start of physics with heavy ions at 11:20 CET today.

“The speed of the transition to lead ions is a sign of the maturity of the LHC,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “The machine is running like clockwork after just a few months of routine operation.”

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Monday, November 8th, 2010 Articles, Big Bang Machine, CERN, Large Hadron Collider Comments Off on CERN completes transition to lead-ion running at the LHC

CERN – potential new discovery spotted by Atom smasher scientists

GENEVA — Scientists at the world’s biggest atom smasher said Tuesday they appeared to have discovered a previously unobserved phenomenon in their quest to unravel the deepest secrets of the universe.

Results from one of the detectors in the Large Hadron Collider experiment indicated that “some of the particles are intimately linked in a way not seen before in proton collisions,” the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said on its website.

“The new feature has appeared in our analysis around the middle of July,” physicist Guido Tonelli told fellow CERN scientists at a seminar to present the findings from the collider’s CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) detector.

“We have today submitted a paper to expose our findings to the wider (scientific) community,” he added, underlining caution and the need for the peer review outside CERN.

Nonetheless, Tonelli, a physicist from Italy’s University of Pisa and scientific spokesperson for the CMS detector, underlined that during weeks of cross-checks and critical debate among the team, “we didn’t succeed to kill it.”

The phenomenon showed up as a “ridge-like structure” on computer mapping graphs based on data from billions of proton collisions in the 3.9-billion-euro (5.2-billion-dollar) machine.

The 27-kilometre (16.8-mile) circular particle accelerator buried under the French-Swiss border is recreating powerful but microscopic bursts of energy that mimic conditions close to the Big Bang that created the universe.

The CMS, one of six experiments around the accelerator, is designed to search for for the elusive and so far theoretical Higgs Boson, commonly nicknamed the “God Particle”.

It is also aimed at shedding light on components of dark matter, the mysterious invisible void that makes up 26 percent of the universe.

MIT physicist Gunther Roland, one of the authors of the paper submitted for review, described the latest observation as a “a subtle effect in a complex environment — careful work is needed to establish its physical origin.”

“What we really hope to get is not just ideas, but how to test it,” he added during the seminar at CERN’s headquarters on the edge of Geneva.

The organisation said it bore “some similarity” with observations in a smaller Ion collider at the US Department of Energy?s Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Despite applause from their peers at CERN, the CMS team’s interpretation of the observation on Tuesday was vigorously challenged during the meeting as scientists bounced suggestions off each other.

“We are stating facts, facts that there is something that we have not seen before,” Tonelli responded, as they began the process of seeking endorsement and an explanation for the observation.

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Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 CERN, Large Hadron Collider, LHC Comments Off on CERN – potential new discovery spotted by Atom smasher scientists

MoEDAL becomes LHC’s seventh experiment

As reported from CERN 12th May 2010

The MoEDAL experiement inside the LHCb VELO cavern.

MoEDAL collaboration.

MoEDAL is the newest of the experiments that will investigate particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider. Approved by the CERN Research Board in December, the MoEDAL experiment will search for very specific exotic particles.

The experiment is relatively small, cheap and quick to install but its physics potential is huge. The MoEDAL detector will consist of layers of plastic attached to the walls and ceiling of the cavern that houses the VELO detector of the LHCb experiment. Physicists will look for tell-tale collinear ‘etch-pits’ created by a stable particle such as a magnetic monopole or a massive stable supersymmetric particle crossing through the plastic.

The international MoEDAL collaboration, made up of physicists from Canada, CERN, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Romania and the US, have already installed the first square metre of plastic in the LHCb cavern and are preparing to deploy the rest of the detector during the next planned long shutdown of the LHC, which will start late in 2011.

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Friday, May 28th, 2010 CERN Comments Off on MoEDAL becomes LHC’s seventh experiment

Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

The LHC is back up and running- sorta! It may take 1-3 years (can you say 2012?) before we know some of the critical information that the LHC, in Cern, can tell us. Evidence of supersymmetry, the idea that every particle has a “super partner” with similar properties in a quantum dimension (according to some physics theories, there are hidden dimensions in the universe), could be discovered one way or the other before 2012.

“The LHC is back,” the European Organization for Nuclear Research announced triumphantly Friday, as the world’s largest particle accelerator resumed operation more than a year after an electrical failure shut it down.

Restarting the Large Hadron Collider — the $10 billion research tool’s full name — has been “a herculean effort,” CERN’s director for accelerators, Steve Myers, said in a statement announcing the success. Experiments at the LHC may help answer fundamental questions such as why Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity — which describes the world on a large scale — doesn’t jibe with quantum mechanics, which deals with matter far too small to see.

Of course, quantum physics is standing most scientists on their heads these days. 🙂

Physicists established a circulating proton beam in the LHC’s 17-mile tunnel at 10 p.m. (4 p.m. ET) Friday, CERN said, a critical step towards getting results from the accelerator. “It’s great to see beam circulating in the LHC again,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “We’ve still got some way to go before physics can begin, but with this milestone we’re well on the way.”

Located underground on the border of Switzerland and France, the LHC has been inching towards operation since the summer. It reached its operating temperature — 271 degrees below zero Celsius — on October 8 and particles were injected on October 23. Now that a beam is circulating, the next step is low-energy collisions, which should begin in about a week, CERN said. High-energy collisions will follow next year.

Might we create a “black hole” with this monster? Doubtful, but then, who knows anything for sure these days?

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Tuesday, May 18th, 2010 CERN 1 Comment