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.