Over the weekend the LHC had a first successful physics run with nominal intensity beams, in 3 bunches. A peak luminosity of about 5 x 1029cm-2s-1 was achieved, and the total integrated luminosity per experiment is now around 30 nb-1. While this is quite a bit behind optimistic schedules of earlier this year, it may now be possible to much more quickly increase the LHC luminosity as the number of bunches is increased. The current plan foresees an integrated luminosity of about 1 pb-1 in July, and another 3 pb-1 in August.
The report about this from BBC News has the LHC’s Mike Lamont trash-talking about the Tevatron:
“It’s clear that the LHC is the new boy in town, but in two years running we’re going to put Fermilab out of business,” operation group leader Mike Lamont told BBC News.
John Ellis is enthusiastic about the possibility of producing black holes:
Professor Ellis added that as the luminosity increases, one of the things physicists at Cern will be looking for is a mini- black hole.
“It would be absolutely, fantastically exciting if we produced black holes at the LHC,” he said.
“Then we would test our ideas about gravity, quantum physics, string theory. This would be much more exciting than finding a… Higgs boson or even dark matter.”
Meanwhile, over in Batavia, the Tevatron has been regularly operating at peak luminosities of 3-4 x 1032cm-2s-1, nearly a 1000 times that of the LHC, accumulating integrated luminosity of around 50 pb-1 a week. They’re getting the total number of collisions produced at the LHC this year about every couple of minutes. So far this year they are doing even better than planned, with over 2000 pb-1 of integrated luminosity in FY 2010. Last week, the Physics Advisory Committee met to consider plans to get in Mike Lamont’s face, and keep operating the Tevatron past its planned closing date of end FY 2011, possibly for another three years. This would take their total data set from about 10 fb-1 to possibly as much as 20 fb-1. With this amount of data they expect to be able to provide 3-sigma evidence for a Higgs over the entire expected mass range, as well as stay ahead of the LHC in several different measurements, including the sort of possible non-SM CP-violating effects that recently have been in the news.
Update: More about CERN’s competition with the Tevatron here:
The LHC now has to produce as many collisions as possible in the next two years in order for the various experiments at CERN to essentially prove their worth among other established particle physics laboratories.
The past failures of the LHC weighed heavily on operations group leader Mike Lamont who talked about some of the criticism from the media.
“The Americans in particular can be quite aggressive,” he told Deutsche Welle.
“It’s quite clear that we’re competing with the States, and we’ve had setbacks, and you can see journalists occasionally being aggressive about that,” he said. “I mean ‘You’re spending taxpayers’ money, and you’re still messing up,’ which can be a fair comment.”
Only if the experiments meet their goals for collected data by 2012, Lamont said, would CERN pull ahead of the research performed at the US-based Fermilab, a particle accelerator located near Chicago, Illinois that measures 6.3 kilometers in circumference.
“We’ve got reach in energy, but they’re still sort of chasing at our heels,” Lamont said. “So if we can collect enough data in 2010 and 2011, we essentially put them out of business, then we can relax in 2012 and fix the [LHC] properly.”
Update: The latest news (01:51) on the LHC Vistar doesn’t sound good: “soon access in US15 for fire brigade”. The beam was lost around 01:00, soon after beams had been ramped to 3.5 TeV. US15 is an underground service cavern next to the ATLAS detector.
Update: Not clear what that was about, but as of 4:30 things are back to normal and they’re getting ready to inject another beam.