Monday, April 30, 2007

LHC Update: No Test Run

What a disaster. I missed this Scientific American piece last Thursday about "Magnet Trouble Likely to Complicate Start of Large Hadron Collider". The disaster isn't missing the article, but what it means for the machine, people, detectors, and even some physics. Naturally, any and every delay creates logistical issues for the machine installation, which is already enormously complicated even when things stick to the plan. But it's also somewhat tricky for all of the people who have already started trying to plan their lives around the potential machine schedules, i.e. when they and their postdocs and students should be at CERN. The detectors will suffer a bit since they won't get to take "test" data while the machine is ramping up. But finally, the physics community will be missing a chance to improve the "energy scan" of collider data. The original test run was supposed to be at "injection energy" (900 GeV), without any acceleration in the LHC itself. While there exists a huge volume of useful collider data from UA1/2/etc on particle multiplicities, spectra, jets, etc, this is all around 20 years old by now. Many measurements at RHIC and the Tevatron have already pointed towards wanting to measure these things much more precisely and in greater experimental detail.

I know this was a major reason for me wanting to get to the LHC early, so I admit that I'm pretty disappointed, but life goes on...

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