Wednesday 10 September 2008

Day Zero Live

8.40. (Yawn). This is the day.
8.43. Yesterday was The End of the World Party downtown in Geneva. It was a quite success, though not as decadent as some might have hoped. On the picture, CERN theorists with WAGs.
8.46. It is certainly the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. Approximately in two years from now particle physics will be turned upside down. 99% of the currently fashionable particle physics models will go to trash. Maybe even 100% ?
8.50. The LHC is a black hole factory, and by exactly the same token it is also a time machine. From here one can peer into the future and read tomorrows newspaper. Here is a sample Thursday edition of an Italian newspaper (you may need to understand Italian and Italians to appreciate it):8.59 And here is the new logo of CERN:

9.05. The auditorium is 200% filled. The webcast does not seem to work. For the moment nothing's going on, just a scary movie on the big screen.
9.15. Lyn Evans explained the plan for the day. First, they are going to inject the beam at point 2 and dump it at point 3. Then they will remove the dumping block at point 3 and try to get to point 4. And so on, hopping octet by octet. When the tour is complete they will start circulating the beam.
9.25. They are injecting the beam and it reached point 3. Applause. People are still flowing toward the Auditorium. There are guards now at the entrance to turn back the crowd and avoid a stampede. Feels like Glastonbury 2000.
9.35. It is really amazing. 1000s of people are staring at the screen, after a few moment a dot appears in the middle and everybody's applauding. It must be the same feeling as watching a baseball game.
9.50. The beam is at point 5 now, and CMS may soon see some splashes. The control room looks like the NASA control room: topü figures staring with serious faces on blinking monitor screens, trying to make an impression everything's under control. Others obviously bored, since it's not allowed to play network games in the presence of TV cameras.
9.55. Meanwhile, the beam got to point 6. However it apparently needs some more manicure, pedicure and collimation before moving further along the ring. Good progress so far.
10.08. Point 7 reached. By the way, if you're having cold feet by now, this blog may provide reassurance.
10.12. Point 8, and then point 1. The circuit is almost complete. In a moment Atlas will see first events in their detector.
10.25. Last octet. Two dots on the screen, which means the beam has made a full clockwise circuit!!!
10.28. Well, well, it seems that the damn machine is working. That's quite unexpected.
10.40. Not much going on now. Music, champagne, interviews....If you are bored with this one, other live commentaries here, here and here.
11.01. In 1 hour or so they will try circulating the beam counterclockwise. Since parity is not conserved in the real world, things might be quite different in that case.
11.09. The picture of the first event in Atlas (thanks to Florian). No idea what's on it :-)
11.29 The tension has clearly dropped. For the last hours there's been only interviews (can't they think of other question than how do you feel?) and boring speeches. They should do something to pump it up. Like for example a mud fight between CMS and Atlas.
12.01. Lyn Evans and Robert Aymar are holding a triumphant press conference.
12.30. Yes! After the first beam we also got the first protester, who came all the way from Germany. He seems quite nice, and harmless, a bit confused too.
12.35. There's some problem with the cryogenic system of the magnets, so that the 2nd beam will be delayed.
13.55. Back after the lunch break. The magnets are cool again, the 2nd beam is being injected.
14.01. 2nd beam is at point 7, then point 6. OK, it's a bit less exciting than the first time...
14.15. Looks like they are having some problems with collimating the beam. They are stuck at point 6 until the beam gets smoothed out.
14.33. Operation resumed. They are at point 5 and passed the CMS detector. Everybody in the CMS control room felt a swoosh of wind.
15.02. Two spots on the screen! First full counterclockwise circuit. Applause, though shorter than for the first beam. It's always better to be the first than the second.
15.05. Robert Aymar said that it's working smooth as a roulette. I hope he didn't mean Russian roulette. Now they will try to get more than one circuit of the beam.
15.25. Basically, the plan for today has been accomplished. Today they will play a little bit more with the 2nd beam. The plan for the nearest feature: sustain the beam continuously, collide two beams at 450 GeV, accelarate the beam in the LHC ring.
16.35 Champagne in the control room. So there won't be more beam today ;-)
17.05. The first beam in the LHC: press release.
18.05. The webcast is now over. The end of the world live was a full success. Everything is going unexpectedly smoothly, so the first collisions may happen sooner than assumed. I'm going to sleep now, but the LHC is not: the work will continue tonight, and tomorrow is another working day (even though it's holiday in Geneva). What we were so excited about today, tomorrow will be just a boring routine. Good night and good luck.


Lavanya M M Ramaniah said...

Thanks a lot for the (almost) live update and links to other such ..
please do keep us posted ! in the coming days, weeks, months ..!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thanks for your coverage.

Anonymous said...

great coverage. who's the genius behind tomorrow's first page of Repubblica?!?!?!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the coverage, was hard to find something semi-live.

Jester said...

I don't know who's the author of the Rebubblica page - a link was pointed out to me by a commenter. "E tutto per un bosone" should become the new slogan of CERN :-)

Anonymous said...

Jester, the Repubblica first page comes from here:
and was inspired by a previous version, here:

As to you, I agree, great coverage!

Kea said...

WAGS? Let me guess .... the gender disadvantaged.