At 5:23 am in Geneva this morning, for the first time the two LHC beams were ramped up to high energy, the 3.5 TeV/beam that they plan to run at for the next two years. These are the highest energy (per particle) beams ever created by human beings, significantly surpassing the value at which the Tevatron operates (.98 TeV/beam) as well as the record achieved last fall (1.18 TeV/beam) during the early stages of beam commissioning.
From now on, work will continue on preparing the machine to operate at higher intensity (for now they are using low-intensity pilot beams). For the next week or two, one of the challenges will be to carefully avoid any interesting collisions between particles in the two beams, since a major media event is being organized around the first collisions, and the event is tentatively scheduled for March 30.
Update: CERN press release is here.
Update: CERN has confirmed in a press release that first collisions will be attempted on March 30.
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Its a very exciting moment in human history, it is sad that so few understand how important it is.
I heard this news while flipping through the AM dial last night!
They were talking about it on some conservative radio talk show, instead of health care and politics.
Science is a great uniter and exalter, and hopefully the LHC will inspire us to focus on all those greater things we have in common–the mystery of physical reality–rather than those things that divide us.
Does anyone know the general odds that people are laying for and against the LHC finding new science?
Dr. E says: Does anyone know the general odds that people are laying for and against the LHC finding new science?
A certain online betting site quotes these odds for finding the Higgs:
by 31 Dec 2010 – 11 percent
by 31 Dec 2011 – 17 percent
by 31 Dec 2012 – 22 percent
by 31 Dec 2013 – 29 percent
Of course these are way too optimistic. “Finding the cause of electroweak symmetry breaking by 2015” would be a good bet.
It appears they got a short circuit today. “Cycling the machine/ Short-circuit detected on the main circuit in SPS – under investigation/More news asap.”
It does not say if this is serious, or a normal, every-day, minor glitch. I cannot judge.
A bit later : Short circuit in SPS has been identified and problem solved… Beam should be back in half an hour.
With this kind of huge and incredibly complicated apparatus, finding short circuits may be a not uncommon occurrence.
I heard the news too, but I don’t know what they understand from that test? does it solve any problem in physics? or not yet!!
Not yet! It will take a year or so to accumulate enough data to start to be interesting, probably several years and an upgrade to full energy in 2013 to get results that will answer the questions we’re most interested in, about the Higgs mechanism.