News From CERN and Fermilab

Things have been going quite well recently at the LHC, with cooldown beginning now for the last two sectors of the ring, three sectors cool, and three cooling. The latest cooldown schedule is here, a report yesterday on progress here. Sometime in July the beam commissioning process should begin, with the current plan to inject first particles in late July. About 2 months should be needed to get to first collisions at 10 TeV and the possibility of starting to take some data. The LHC has to have a winter shutdown so that the residents of Geneva don’t freeze to death, and that will start in late November. Estimates are that the fall 10 TeV run will produce total luminosity of “tens of pb-1“. Tommaso Dorigo predicts 40 pb-1, see more here. Also, don’t miss his series of recent posts from PPC 2008 giving the best blogging from a conference I’ve ever seen… The plan for 2009 is to run at 14 TeV, with perhaps 2.5 fb-1.

The situation at Fermilab is extremely unclear. The final plan for layoffs there has 140 people losing their jobs, presumably starting next week. This week, Congress is facing down the president, putting together bills to fund the war in Iraq that also contain large amounts of new domestic spending, something Bush has promised to veto. The Senate version of this bill contains $45 million for DOE HEP research, which presumably would be enough to stop the Fermilab layoffs. It passed yesterday with a veto-proof majority of 75-22. The House bill has no such provisions, and now the two bills need to be reconciled, and either passed over Bush’s veto or somehow made acceptable to him. More about this here. Remember that is we’re already two-thirds of the way through FY2008, with US HEP labs unsure (by a huge amount) of what their budget for the year will end up being. What a way to run a government…

Director Oddone has scheduled two all-hands meetings today, one for half the lab’s divisions at 11:30, another for the other half at 1pm.

Update: The University of Chicago today announced an anonymous $5 million donation from a family that will go towards funding some of the programs at Fermilab that have suffered from this year’s budget cuts. This will allow Fermilab to stop the forced furlough program it has been operating under at the end of this month. The prospect of layoffs at the lab continues.

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13 Responses to News From CERN and Fermilab

  1. theoreticalminimum says:

    This is a very short review of ‘Même pas fausse ! La physique renvoyée… dans ses cordes‘, but I thought you might want to read it.

  2. Peter Woit says:


    Thanks, it seems to be hard to get a link to that review but I did find it. It’s a fair and sensible review of the book.

  3. Pingback: Simona Murgia: Dark Matter searches with GLAST « A Quantum Diaries Survivor

  4. JTankers says:

    Congress authorized $100 million by a veto proof majority. The jobs are safe. Now lets focus on the safety of the planet.

    A new site was created to detail the FACTS at, and allow honest feed back and counter arguments.

    Review the issues for your self to determine who is honest about the risks and how large those risks might surprisingly be… (Some evidence indicates that real risk may be 100%, but science is unable to determine risks accurately at this time. That is not a time to say “no proof of reasonable risk, launch!”

    Dr. Raj Baldev, Director of the Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research. Dr. Baldev says the following “ But the scientists are fully aware that it is not a project without a grave risk to the life of the Earth.”


  5. wilbur says:

    JTanker, nothing will happen at the LHC that does not happen everyday in the upper atmosphere with cosmic rays… except that at the LHC there will be a lot of people watching the show with huge detectors…

  6. Peter Woit says:

    Please, if anyone wants to discuss JTankers arguments, do it as his website.

  7. DB says:

    Oddone revealed that an anonymous Chicago family has donated $5m to Fermilab so the furloughs no longer need to go ahead.

    As to the House of Representatives going along with the Senate proposal, that’s considered unlikely:

  8. Professor R says:

    To European eyes, it is incredible to see Fermilab with such funding worries, given its record of achievement, and current success…

    Just how dumb are your leaders in the White House? Do they not have science advisors with any intelligence ?

    Here in Ireland, a similar situation prevails. Ireland is the only country in the EU that is not a member of CERN, and we have been trying to persuade the governmnet to rectify this shameful situation for years.

    But that level of ignorance in a small country on the edge of europe is one thing – it is quite another in the worlds permier superpower..

  9. Visitor says:

    “Just how dumb are your leaders in the White House?”
    Not as dumb as you think; the White House wants to fund FermiLab, it is the Democrats who have cut their appropriations specifically because Bush wants to protect them. You, along with some other people here, need to rethink your stereotypes. (Of course, that’s not very likely, is it?)
    (There have already been a few threads here about the situation.)
    Incidentally, if Obama is elected, I would expect that the situation for science funding will get worse…

  10. Coin says:

    Do they not have science advisors with any intelligence ?

    I don’t think you need those last three words there, really, at this point.

  11. Professor R says:

    Coin: I see what you mean!

    To European eyes, it seems incredible that Fermilab funding is being cut at this point (irrespective of who is doing the cutting), given its current beam efficiency, and the fact that LHC will not start delivering for some months yet.

    Cost effective? Any experimentalist will tell you that cost-effectiveness is about grabbing as much data once the thing’s working smoothly!

  12. wb says:

    I accept the argument that once a machine is running you take as much data as you possibly can. Nonetheless if one uses the old guideline that a “factor of two in energy is worth a factor of ten in luminosity with a hadron collider, the prospect of 40 inverse picobarns at LHC by years end is becoming a scene stealer.

  13. Professor R says:

    Agreed, wb – but that’s at year’s end, not now!

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