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LHC Success! 1007

Tomahawk writes "It worked! The LHC was turned on this morning and has been shown to have worked. Engineers cheered as the proton particles completed their first circuit of the underground ring which houses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). (And we're all still alive, too!)" Here is a picture from the control room which I'm sure makes sense to someone that isn't me.
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LHC Success!

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  • BFD (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheNecromancer ( 179644 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:15AM (#24946145)

    I thought that the critics of this project were worried about the effects of COLLIDING the particles. Since that hasn't happened yet, this story is a whole lotta nuthin'.

  • by eebra82 ( 907996 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:22AM (#24946251) Homepage

    If I'm correct, no collisions have taken place yet.

    Correct. That will happen later this month.

  • by bockelboy ( 824282 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:35AM (#24946475)

    That picture is from smashing the beam into the collimator, not from passing the beam through ATLAS.

    This is one of the final tests that you perform before passing the beam through - the result though is that millions of muons from the beam smash and deflect off the collimator, touching off all the different parts of the detectors. That's why you see so many energy deposits (green) throughout ATLAS.

    When you're just circulating beams, the only thing you see are Cosmics and BeamHalo - any muons which collide with remaining gas particles upstream of the detector and basically circle right outside of the beam. Here's some pictures of CMS beam halo: []

  • by mb10ofBATX ( 126746 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:40AM (#24946573)

    That GUI looks to be implemented in Java - a quick google seems to validate that impression.

    Java's licensing agreement, under the paragraph 3. Restrictions. [] states:

    "You acknowledge that Licensed Software is not designed or intended for use in the design, construction, operation or maintenance of any nuclear facility."

    So, Java's no good for a nuclear facility, but it can operate a black hole generating facility just fine.

    If you weren't concerned before ... now might be a good time.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:41AM (#24946587) Journal

    Those who say the tiny lack holes would dissapear instantly, you are misinformed. They are solid mass. They can only grow, and anything that interacts with them will be sucked in

    Mr. Hawking [] disagrees with you.

    And even if he is wrong, my understanding is that particle collisions with the same energy levels happen on a routine basis as cosmic rays strike our atmosphere. That would seem to suggest that either these collisions lack the power to create black holes or Hawking's theory is correct and they evaporate pretty quickly.

  • Re:Realtime LHC Data (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doug Neal ( 195160 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:42AM (#24946615)

    This is the most useless website I've seen in my life... How could I read the "Yes" if it happens???

    Why would you need to?

  • by The_Wilschon ( 782534 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:43AM (#24946629) Homepage
    Step aside sir, I'm hijacking your first post.

    Here is a picture from the control room which I'm sure makes sense to someone that isn't me.

    The image is produced by an event display program, which provides a nice visual representation of the output of the whole detector (ATLAS in this case) for one event. One event here means one beam crossing, generally, which could include up to several proton-proton collisions, but generally only one interesting one.

    Now, I'm not completely familiar with ATLAS (I'm a CDF guy), but I'm pretty sure the top left section is the muon chambers. These record, well, muons, which are the only thing which interacts poorly enough to consistently punch all the way through the detector and the layers of steel in front of the muon chambers, but strongly enough to be recorded all the way along its passage.

    The top center shows a zoomed in view of the middle of the top left: the calorimeters. Calorimeters record the amount of energy that enters them, and are arranged radially, so that you can see just how much energy (in the form of both mass and kinetic energy) was carried away from the collision in a particular direction. This is accomplished by means of scintillator crystals, which tend to get ionized by the passage of high energy particles, thus absorbing some energy from the particles, and then they reemit that energy as photons, which are collected and measured in photomultiplier tubes. The calorimeters are used to look for most particles, particularly electrons and "jets" (which are a spray of particles resulting from the ejection of a quark from the collision), both of which leave clusters of energy over a significant area of the calorimeter.

    The top right is again a zoomed in view of the middle of the top center: the tracking chambers. These act sort of like thousands and thousands of geiger counters; every time a charged particle passes through the vicinity of a wire in the tracking chamber, it records a hit. You can then piece all these hits together in a line to measure the track of a particle. The offcenter pink and blue line is almost certainly a cosmic ray, which will naturally leave a track in the chamber, but not appear to originate from the interaction point. In the lower left, you can see what is probably two different short track segments.

    The first three images have been more or less slices out of the center of the detector, perpendicular to the beam line. The lower left is a side-on view, showing the somewhat less important parts of the detector that lie at small angles to the beam line, the so-called forward detectors.

    The lower right is probably intended to be a flat plot of the calorimeter, as if you sliced it parallel to the beam line and unrolled it. The height of the bars would then indicate how much energy was deposited in each section. However, at the moment, that plot looks like it is having some sort of overflow problems.

  • by oldspewey ( 1303305 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:46AM (#24946671)

    Cern has not yet announced when it plans to carry out the first collisions, but these are expected to happen before the machine shuts down for winter.

    Perhaps somebody with a good grasp of complex topics such as magnets and electricity can explain to me: why does a 27km long underground tunnel need to shut down for the winter?

  • Atlas Project TWiki (Score:2, Informative)

    by chmodman ( 565242 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:46AM (#24946681)
    I believe this is the SCADA software that is shown in the screen shot for the detector. Can someone please confirm? Atlas []
  • Re:Screenshot (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:53AM (#24946781)

    They actually even have their own distribution;

  • by hackus ( 159037 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:54AM (#24946797) Homepage

    I would also like to point out they have to align the particle streams yet, AND this will take some time before they turn the energy levels up on the device to maximum, which as many have pointed out, is the "new territory" area.

    Not until the device is at full power and doing collisions is there really any concern.

    I suspect full power, "universe shattering" tests won't take place until sometime in December at the earliest.


  • by invisiblerhino ( 1224028 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:03AM (#24946937)
    Electricity costs, mainly. EDF gives CERN a discount because we use so much of it, but they hike their prices up in the winter when people use more energy. Also, the winter shutdown gives people breathing space to decide what to do next, lessons to learn etc. I think in the case of LHC they could probably afford to keep it running, but there's no real point. They're going to use the time to work out how to increase from their expected pre-winter centre of mass energy of 10 TeV to 14 TeV. This is all standard accelerator practice, as far as I know.
  • Re:Beer joke? (Score:4, Informative)

    by andrewbaldwin ( 442273 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:15AM (#24947113)

    From the BBC news website

    "Full beam ahead

    Engineers injected the first low-intensity proton beams into the LHC in August. But they did not go all the way around the ring.

    Technicians had to be on the lookout for potential problems.

    Steve Myers, head of the accelerator and beam department, said: "There are on the order of 2,000 magnetic circuits in the machine. This means there are 2,000 power supplies which generate the current which flows in the coils of the magnets."

    If there was a fault with any of these, he said, it would have stopped the beams. They were also wary of obstacles in the beam pipe which could prevent the protons from completing their first circuit.

    Mr Myers has experience of the latter problem. While working on the LHC's predecessor, a machine called the Large-Electron Positron Collider, engineers found two beer bottles wedged into the beam pipe - a deliberate, one-off act of sabotage.

    The culprits - who were drinking a particular brand that advertising once claimed would "refresh the parts other beers cannot reach" - were never found. "

    The "beer that refreshed the parts..." was an advertising slogan for Heiniken

  • Just a test (Score:2, Informative)

    by Chicken04GTO ( 957041 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:29AM (#24947367)
    All you guys posting "SEE WE DIDN'T DIE" are clueless. This was just test. They haven't actually fired it at full power, and they haven't actually collided anything yet. They just ran it at partial power, in each direction, one at a time. The end of world will come when they actually collide particles from opposite directions at full power. This wont happen for months, so get off the I told you so bandwagon AND READ THE FUCKING ARTICLE. Then and only then can you say we didn't die, but by then the black hole will kill us all or the stragelets will turn us into zombies and the apocalypse will be upon us.
  • by AndyboyH ( 837116 ) <> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:32AM (#24947429) Homepage

    The beer was Heineken.

    The reason behind it: Apparently there were some Heiney beer bottles put into one of the parts of the LHC as an attempt of sabotage (or just random stupidity) earlier this year

  • by bigsexyjoe ( 581721 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:37AM (#24947521)
    Because the Earth is constantly being bombarded by cosmic rays [].

    From wikipedia:
    Cosmic rays can have energies of over 10^20 eV, far higher than the 10^12 to 10^13 eV that man-made particle accelerators can produce.

    The LHC will merely achieve energies of of 7*12^eV. Therefore it's no big deal. So if it is going to make mini black holes, Higgs bosons, or whatever kind of doomsday particle, they are already being produced in the upper atmosphere all the time.

  • by tha_mink ( 518151 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:37AM (#24947525)

    And the ones who lost their bets with Stephen Hawking about whether they'd find the Higgs Boson.

    Isn't the real science not happening for like another 11 months?

  • by omuls are tasty ( 1321759 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:38PM (#24948519)
    2 freight trains? You must have some really big mosquitoes [] where you live.
  • Re:Screenshot (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mad Merlin ( 837387 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:09PM (#24948959) Homepage

    I'm not sure about the toolkit (though I don't think it's QT or GTK), but that's definitely kwin (ie, KDE's window manager).

  • by ThanatosMinor ( 1046978 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:10PM (#24948971)

    1 eV is approximately 10^(-20) K. For LHC to approach the caloric value of a soda (diet or regular, the difference is about one order of magnitude) it would need to generate particle beams with zetta-eV, i.e., 10^(21)

    There are some very important points to note here about what's wrong with this statement.

    • K is the symbol for Kelvin, not calories (or Calories). eV is energy, Kelvin is temperature.
    • It is close to meaningless to compare the energy in chemical bonds that is released when burned (calories) to the energy of a single particle in an accelerator. Electromagnetic bonds are not broken in particle accelerators.
    • The energies of subatomic particles (binding, rest, or kinetic) are NEVER measured in calories.

    It makes me angry that this was modded Informative.

    Oh, the difference in calories between regular and diet sodas is closer to two orders of magnitude. That at least wasn't nonsensical, but just wrong.

  • by KGIII ( 973947 ) * <> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:25PM (#24949217) Journal

    I think they just turned it on today (that was the plan last I knew) but I didn't RTFA yet. They're not supposed to actually smash stuffs together for a while longer. The doomsayers have a while longer to get remain in their bunkers if that's the case.

  • by AchilleTalon ( 540925 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @01:53PM (#24949663) Homepage
    Not actually true. Look at Manhattan project (Wikipedia) and I copy here the associated paragraph:

    "Teller also raised the speculative possibility that an atomic bomb might "ignite" the atmosphere, because of a hypothetical fusion reaction of nitrogen nuclei. Bethe calculated, according to Serber, that it could not happen. In his book The Road from Los Alamos, Bethe says a refutation was written by Konopinski, C. Marvin, and Teller as report LA-602, showing that ignition of the atmosphere was impossible, not just unlikely.[7] In Serber's account, Oppenheimer mentioned it to Arthur Compton, who "didn't have enough sense to shut up about it. It somehow got into a document that went to Washington" which led to the question being "never laid to rest".[8]"

    So, in conclusion, they didn't test the first atomic bomb before computations were performed and Edward Teller himself wrote a report to refute his own hypothesis.

  • LHC isn't running. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Inominate ( 412637 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @02:19PM (#24950071)

    All this was was an initial test, the first attempt to circulate a beam through the collider. Nothing was actually collided.

  • by treeves ( 963993 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @02:22PM (#24950127) Homepage Journal

    Someone please mod up insightful or informative. My remaining mod points expired today.
    The LHC was "turned on" but this does not mean it is operating anywhere near the energies that will distiguish it from past particle accelerators. Yet.

  • LHC (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @04:50PM (#24952203)

    This is what people are missing. No collisions have taken place. The LHC is not scheduled to run at full power for several months.

    CERN will experience another equipment failure much like the one that pushed the startup date to now. They will be ready to collide at 99.999% speed of light around 2012, thus corresponding to the Mayan cataclysm.

  • by InfiniteLoopCounter ( 1355173 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @08:36PM (#24955317)

    Isn't the real science not happening for like another 11 months?

    "It has been estimated that the particle tests will generate approximately 15 petabytes (15 million gigabytes) of measuring data. This amount of data will be decentralized by utilizing data networks into several computation centers all around the world." []

    Due to this huge amount of data scientists had to create new ways of sending large volumes of traffic over conventional networks (by software []/hardware).

    The probability of finding the Higgs boson in once collision depends on the energy at which the Higgs boson can be created (if it exists). The faster the particles hit each other the higher the energy.

    If the scientists are really unlucky, the Higgs boson could have been "discovered" in the experiment some months from now and go unnoticed in the sea of data for years (assuming the Higgs Boson is to be found somewhere at the upper limit of the energies provided and in the last to be checked data).

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.