Interactions News Wire #100-06
15 December 2006 http://www.interactions.org
CERN Confident of LHC start-up in 2007
Geneva, 15 December 2006. Delegates
attending the 140th meeting of CERN* Council today heard a confident report from
the Laboratory about the scheduled start-up of the world's highest energy
particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collier (LHC), in 2007.
a 27 kilometre tunnel beneath the French-Swiss border near Geneva, the LHC is
the world's largest and most complex scientific instrument. Experiments at the
LHC will allow physicists to complete a journey that started with Newton's
description of gravity. Gravity acts on mass, but so far science is unable to
explain why the fundamental particles have the masses they have. Experiments at
the LHC may provide the answer. LHC experiments will also search for the
mysterious missing mass and dark energy of the Universe - visible matter seems
to account for just 4% of what must exist. They will investigate the reason for
nature's preference for matter over antimatter, and they will probe matter as it
existed at the very beginning of time.
As 2006 draws to a close, some 80%
of the LHC's magnets, the main components of the new machine, were installed
underground and a complete sector of the machine was being prepared for
cool-down to its operating temperature of just 1.9 degrees above absolute zero,
colder than outer space. "Although just one eighth of the LHC," said CERN
Director General Robert Aymar, "this sector will be the world's largest
cryogenic installation when it is cooled down early next year."
is equally impressive for the four large experiments preparing to take data with
the LHC's colliding particle beams. Named ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb, all are
striving to be ready for first collisions late in 2007.
When data flow
from the experiments gets up to speed, it will be produced at a prodigious rate,
reaching close to one percent of the world's information production rate.
Handling this amount of data demands a new approach to distributed computing,
called the Grid. In 2006, the LHC computing grid began offering a baseline
service to the LHC community, right on schedule for a full service to begin in
The year 2006 has been a busy, but exciting, one for CERN. As it
draws to a close, the LHC project is in good shape. Hurdles have been overcome,
and the project is proceeding smoothly towards collisions in the LHC by this
time next year.
* CERN, the European Organization
for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It
has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria,
Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,
Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian
Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and
UNESCO have Observer status.
Press Release will be online in a few
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