LHC On Schedule

A couple weeks ago I linked here to a draft LHC schedule that had about 3 weeks slippage from the previous schedule, which has beam commissioning starting again on September 21 (week 39). This was due to delays in getting the new quench protection system in place, which meant that powering tests could not start until later than planned. The latest news is that a way has been found to get some of the powering tests done earlier, and then get the bulk of the tests done in 11 rather than 14 weeks by adding shifts and working on sectors in parallel. The latest schedule thus is able to stick to the September 21 start date.

The working assumption remains that it will take a month or so from that date to get colliding beams and the possibility of starting to get some data. The plan now is to run through the normal winter shutdown period for about a year until the late fall of 2010, hoping to collect 100-500 pb^-1 at 10 TeV center of mass energy. This week in Berkeley there’s a workshop on Physics Opportunities with Early LHC Data. At the projected luminosities there’s not much hope of competing with the Tevatron on the search for the Higgs, but the LHC would be able to push up current Tevatron limits on masses of some superpartners (gluinos).

There are also recent postings about prospects for the LHC from Tommaso Dorigo, and John Conway at Cosmic Variance.

At the KITP in Santa Barbara, there had been plans to have a program on The First Year of the LHC, starting in May of next year. The delay in LHC startup has caused that program to be pushed back, with a new startup date of June 6, 2011.

The latest CERN Bulletin has news and video of the recent transport of the final replacement magnet for the damaged sector 34. All the necessary refurbished magnets are now in the tunnel, and work on the interconnections is on-going.

In other CERN news, I hear that the Austrian government has decided, for budgetary reasons, to withdraw from membership in CERN by the end of 2011. This decision still needs to be ratified by the parliament, so perhaps there is some hope of getting it over-turned.

Update: Maybe not all is well. I hear that new problems have turned up with some of the busbar connections. It turns out that in some cases the way the superconductor was soldered in some interconnections melted the solder connecting superconductor and copper. This could be a problem during a quench. Investigation of the problem is ongoing, and it will take a couple weeks before data is in, analyzed and conclusions can be drawn.

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4 Responses to LHC On Schedule

  1. Andrei says:

    Ah so the pressure beggins to gather. Well CERn’d better start running soon and show some spectacular results (as opposed to just hype). Last year the Brittish were cutting down money for this kind of research. Only recently Stephen Chu announced his estimate for the ILC to be about 25 billion. In contrast to Barrish’s estimate of about 6 bil. I don’t think Chu really believes the large figure. It is more of a veiled message. These big projects need an infusion of legitimacy soon or they in for a rude awakening. Perpetual delays and cute computer simulations just will not cut it anymore.

    As to the LHC schedule I wouldn’t get too excited. The first year of data will be inconclusive or more measurements of what nature is not. Then at the end of 2010 after a year of “operation,” (I.m sure CERN will say it was a great success just like they did last year despite the fact that the machine blew up in their face) the LHC will stop for a year to install some additional hardware. So in reality we are looking at a de facto additional delay of at least 2 years before some legitimate results will issue from CERN.

  2. Andrei says:

    Well here is an update on this. Altough the official reason was budgetary reasons, the Austrian government has actually in creased science funding and (quote):

    The government will use its contribution to CERN — roughly €17 million per year, or 2% of the laboratory’s budget — to make up some of that shortfall and to begin participation in other international collaborations in physics, sociology and biotechnology. Among the projects that may benefit are the European Biobanking and Biomolecular Research Resources Infrastructure project, the European X-ray Free Electron Laser near Hamburg, Germany, and the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany.

    here uis a link to that article: http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090508/full/news.2009.459.html.

    A final decision to withdraw is expected in the fall. CERN would better make the LHC run in the fall. According to the above article they are now affraid that other nations will follow suit.

    Well what did they expect? So far, in contrast to the promise to elucidate the secrets of the universe, CERn has been sinking money in one embarrasing failure after another. But that should have been foreseen by European governments because the LHC was sold in France as a job creation tool and not a scientific experiment. I wonder how long the other goverments will tolerate a perpetually delayed project intended to keep French workers in weine and croissants.

  3. Andrei says:

    Sorry for not proofing my comments. I am rather tired.

  4. Pingback: Austria May Leave CERN « Not Even Wrong

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