LHC activation


in Geek stuff, Science

The hardware commissioning of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) can be monitored on this website. Things are coming together fairly quickly now. The first particle beam injections took place on August 8th. On September 10th, the first full beam circulation will occur. On October 21st, the first high energy collissions should occur.

It seems likely that the collider will soon produce evidence of the Higgs Boson, and perhaps Hawking Radiation as well. Very exciting times to be watching physics, these.

[Update: 24 September 2008] Because of an overheated connection which caused a helium leak, it looks like the LHC will be out of commission until April 2009, at least. That is fairly understandable given the complexity of the machine, but it is still disappointing that we will have longer to wait for results.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan August 25, 2008 at 10:20 am

Large Hadron Collider photos
* August 14th, 2008

On fundamental physics
* July 13th, 2006

. August 25, 2008 at 5:24 pm

How to run the LHC

By alby on LHC

CERN has published the full technical details of the design and construction of the LHC and it’s six detectors (1589 pages, 115MB).

David Scrimshaw August 27, 2008 at 11:34 pm

October 21? Not much time to get our affairs in order.

Unless instead of pulling the earth into a black hole the LHC puts us in one of those infinite time loops, in which case, we’ll eventually get super efficient at using the next couple of months.

. September 9, 2008 at 9:14 am
. September 9, 2008 at 11:05 am
. September 9, 2008 at 11:07 am

LHC Machine Outreach Blog 2008

9th September

For some reason we’re going to try and start full-on commissioning of the LHC with beam under the gaze of the world’s press tomorrow. The car park has been fenced off, there’s huge TV lorry outside and banners all over the control room. Due to a transformer fault the cryogenics tripped last night and we won’t get sectors 78 and 81 back to later this evening. Should be interesting.

. September 9, 2008 at 11:08 am

* The LHC is installed in a tunnel 3.8 m. in diameter, buried 50 to 175 m. below ground. The tunnel straddles the French-Swiss border to the North-West of Geneva.

* Two counter rotating beams are injected into the LHC from the SPS accelerator (the Super Proton Synchrotron).

* The proton beams are injected at 450 GeV and then accelerated to 7 TeV.

* The beam moves around the LHC ring inside a continuous vacuum chambers which pass through a large number of magnets.

* 1232 dipole magnets bend the beam around the 27 km. ring. The momentum of the beam is very high and these magnets have to produce a very strong magnetic field.

* To reach the high magnetic field required, high currents are needed. To avoid excessive resistive losses, the magnets are superconducting. A huge cryogenics system is required to produce the liquid helium needed to keep the magnets cold.

* The cables of the magnets are of a very special design and conduct current without resistance in their superconducting state

* The beams will be stored at high energy for 10 to 20 hours (with a bit of luck). In 10 hours the particles make four hundred million revolutions around the machine. During this time collisions take place inside the four main LHC EXPERIMENTS.

. September 9, 2008 at 11:11 am

The Accidental Particle
They’re turning on the Large Hadron Collider. Don’t expect the Higgs boson to show up.
By James Owen Weatherall
Posted Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008, at 6:56 AM ET

The first particle beams will race through Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider, the biggest particle accelerator ever built, this Wednesday. After 15 years—and something like $8 billion in construction costs—the machine should start producing early results by midfall. According to the usual story, particle physicists everywhere are anxiously awaiting evidence of an as-yet-unseen elementary particle called the Higgs boson.

Last summer, I argued that the discovery of the Higgs could spell disaster for the field. If we find the Higgs, the Standard Model of high-energy physics would provide a theoretical account of all known particles and their interactions. Physicists could use it to predict the results of every particle accelerator experiment ever performed with near-perfect accuracy, given a big enough computer. But the Standard Model isn’t intuitive enough to provide insight into why the world happens to be the way it is. Most physicists hope that there’s a deeper, more revealing theory waiting to be discovered; if all the LHC finds is the Higgs, they will be sorely disappointed. Fortunately—and this I didn’t mention last year—there’s no particular reason to expect that the Higgs will show up.

. September 9, 2008 at 1:20 pm

Cern collider ready for power-up
By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News

Three decades after it was conceived, the world’s most powerful physics experiment is ready to be powered up.

On Wednesday, engineers will attempt to circulate a beam of particles around the 27km-long underground tunnel which houses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The £5bn machine is designed to smash particles together with cataclysmic force, revealing signs of new physics in the wreckage.

This will re-create conditions in the Universe moments after the Big Bang.

. September 9, 2008 at 6:29 pm

LHC Flips On Tomorrow

Reader WillRobinson notes that CERN researchers declared the final synchronization test a success and says, “The first attempt to circulate a beam in the LHC will be made this Wednesday, Sept. 10 at the injection energy of 450 GeV (0.45 TeV). The start up time will be between (9:00 to 18:00 Zurich Time) (2:00 to 10:00 CDT) with live webcasts provided at webcast.cern.ch.”

. September 10, 2008 at 6:44 pm

First Beam Circles Large Hadron Collider Track

The Large Hadron Collider fired its first beam around the machine’s full track at 10:28 AM local time (1:36 AM Pacific time).

No actual atoms were smashed today — that won’t start for weeks — and no results are expected for months, at the earliest. Still, like first light in a telescope, the first beam in the particle accelerator is a landmark moment for a program that has spanned more than 20 years and involved tens of thousands of scientists.

. September 11, 2008 at 10:46 am

LHC turn-on
XKCD comincs

. September 11, 2008 at 10:47 am
Milan September 11, 2008 at 10:49 am

This page sure is getting a lot of traffic…

A lot of people wanted to know exactly when the machine would first circulate a beam.

. September 11, 2008 at 10:56 am

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider started — are we still here? (updated with video)
By Thomas Ricker

Remember, no smashing will be done today, for that we’ll have to wait until later this month. We’ll update you here as things progress.

09:49 — Confirmed, the first beam of protons has been fired! It took 48-seconds for the pulse to generate and then a tiny flash of light on a computer screen indicated a successful firing around the first 3-km of the 27-km ring — they will methodically extend the range throughout the day.

10:25 — The beam just completed the full ring (in stages) in less than an hour. Things are going much more quickly than expected. Counterclockwise test next.

12:18 — CERN estimates that the LHC will be fully operational for physics work in the next few months. Added NASA-like video of the reaction to the full-loop, first beam success after the break (watch for two flashes on the left-most screen).

. September 11, 2008 at 3:50 pm

By bsag

Like many other people, I was following the events surrounding the switching-on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN yesterday with great interest. The BBC has had some quite good coverage, particularly The Big Bang Machine, however I felt a bit frustrated with some of the explanations. On all of the coverage of the LHC we learned that:

* It is 27 km in circumference
* It is cooled close to absolute zero (about -271°C)
* Twin proton beams will be accelerated to speeds very near to the speed of light
* The protons will then be collided, resulting in them being “smashed apart”
* This will recreate conditions as they were very shortly after the start of the Big Bang
* Detectors will record incredibly short-lived products of the collisions, looking (among other things) for the theoretically postulated but never observed Higgs boson.

. September 11, 2008 at 5:28 pm

Safety of the Large Hadron Collider
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

. September 16, 2008 at 12:17 am
. August 4, 2009 at 7:45 pm

For example, if a black hole with of 2200 lb mass (1000 kg mass) suddenly appeared a meter away as you walked down the street, it would pull you toward it with a force of roughly 10-6 lb (5 x 10-6 newtons). In other words, you would not even feel the force. Yes, the 1000 kg black hole would still “eat” nearby matter, but the key word is nearby, very nearby. It would not be capable of drawing in matter from any appreciable distance.

. August 9, 2009 at 1:06 pm

LHC To Start Back Up In November At Half Power

The Large Hadron Collider, smasher of particles, will get another chance to prove itself this November. The restart will begin with tests at half power, a mere 7 trillion electron volts (TeV), and ramp up slowly to the designed goal of 14 TeV. “Measurements indicate that some of the electrical connections could not safely handle the amount of current needed to run at the full 14 TeV, so will need to be replaced before dialing up the energy that far. But even 7 TeV is much higher than physicists have ever probed in the laboratory before. The Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, is the current record holder, with collisions at 2 TeV.”

. November 13, 2009 at 9:49 am

Micro-Black Holes Make Poor Planet Killers

“Physicists are getting excited about the possibility of micro-black holes (MBH) being produced by the LHC and an international group of researchers have done the math to see what kind of impact they could have on the Earth. Unfortunately, if you’re a megalomaniac looking for your next globe-eating weapon, you can scrub MBHs off your WMD list. If a speedy MBH is produced, flying through our planet, it will only have a few seconds to accrete the mass of a few atoms. It would then be lost to space where it will evaporate. If a slow MBH is produced, dropping into the Earth where it sits for a few billion years, the results are even more boring.”

. November 30, 2009 at 8:48 am

Large Hadron Collider Sets World Record

CERN announced early Monday that the Large Hadron Collider has become the world’s highest-energy particle accelerator. The LHC pushed protons to 1.18 TeV (trillion electron volts), surpassing the previous record of 0.98 TeV held by Fermilab’s Tevatron.

The LHC had a rough start: It suffered a mechanical failure just a week after it fired up for the first time in September 2008. Now, 10 days after it turned on again, scientists are celebrating with their fingers crossed that the machine is safely on its way to the physics experiments they plan to begin next year when the LHC has reached its target energy of 7 TeV.

. December 9, 2009 at 11:43 am

LHC Reaches Record Energy

“Yesterday evening the Large Hadron Collider at CERN for the first time accelerated protons in both directions of the ring to 1.18 TeV. Even though the 1 TeV barrier per beam was first broken a week ago, this marks the first time that the beam was in the machine in both directions at the same time allowing possibly for collisions at a center of mass energy of 2.36 TeV. Although the test lasted mere minutes, it was enough to have detectors record the very first events at 2.36 TeV. LHC passes Tevatron (the particle collider at Fermilab that operates at 1.96 TeV) and becomes the highest energy particle collider in the world (so far it was effectively just the highest energy storage ring…)”

. February 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Report: Large Hadron Collider producing tons of awesome collisions
By Laura June

Hey, now, this is some great news, right? The trouble-plagued Large Hadron Collider looks to be doing a bang up job in some of its primary tasks. After breaking the energy record previously held by the Tevatron particle accelerator back at the end of November, 2009, reports are now coming in that the LHC is, in fact, producing some extremely high energy collisions. A research team led by MIT, CERN and the KFKI Research Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics in Budapest, Hungary have released a report detailing findings that the collisions are producing an “unexpectedly” high number of particles called mesons, subatomic particles composed of one quark and one antiquark. The research is considered one of the first steps in the search for rarer particles, and the elusive, theoretical Higgs Boson. The paper, published in the Journal of High Energy Physics has led scientists to fine-tuning their predictive models for how many mesons will be found in even higher energy collisions. Hit the read link for the full, high energy news.

. February 9, 2010 at 11:50 am

First results from Large Hadron Collider published
By Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News

The results from the highest-energy particle experiments carried out at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in December have begun to yield their secrets.

Scientists from the LHC’s Compact Muon Solenoid detector has now totted up all of the resulting particle interactions.

They wrote in the Journal of High Energy Physics that the run created more particles than theory predicted.

However, the glut of particles should not affect results as the experiment runs to even higher energies this year.

The LHC is designed to smash together particles and atoms circling its 27km-tunnel in a bid to find evidence of further particles that underpin the field of physics as it is currently formulated.

The December announcement of particle beam energies in excess of one trillion electron volts made the LHC the world’s highest-energy particle accelerator.

. August 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm

“Pallab Ghosh of the BBC reports on another piece of evidence hitting the beleaguered Supersymmetry community. Scientists at the Lepton Photon conference in Mumbai, India confirmed that extra levels of B-Meson decay have not been found in the LHC beauty experiment. Coming on the heels of a March report in Nature , this news seems to reinforce what many have suspected all along. Dark Matter is probably not explainable through massive shadow particles like squarks and selectrons, and for all practical purposes, the Supersymmetric Extension of the Standard Model of Physics is dead.”

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