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LHC To Idle All Accelerators In 2012 117

sciencehabit writes "Particle physicists and science fans everywhere knew that the European particle physics laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland, would shut down the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest atom smasher, for all of 2012 for repairs. Many expected that the shutdown would stretch to more than a year, which CERN officials confirmed today. But most probably did not expect CERN to idle all its other accelerators at the same time, shutting down a variety of smaller projects and forcing hundreds of scientists not working on the LHC to take an unanticipated break in data taking. The longer shutdown could be a chance for US scientists working on the Tevatron at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, if researchers there can persuade lab management to keep the machine going instead of shutting it down in 2011 as currently planned." Reader suraj.sun notes other CERN news making the rounds right now about plans for the International Linear Collider, a 31-kilometer-long collider designed to complement the LHC. Construction on the ILC could begin as soon as 2012.
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LHC To Idle All Accelerators In 2012

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  • Bad headline (Score:3, Informative)

    by jfoobaz ( 1844794 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @03:32PM (#33035306)

    It's wrong, and it's even contradicted by the summary below. The LHC isn't idling all accelerators, CERN is idling all of the accelerators they operate.

    I know it's Slashdot, but is it too much to ask that the editors try to pay enough attention to ensure that the headline is accurate with respect to the summary?

  • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @03:35PM (#33035334) Journal

    The longer shutdown could be a chance for US scientists working on the Tevatron at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois.

    There are not many channels in which the Tevatron will be competitive with the LHC after the first data run assuming that we get the expected amount of data. The only advantages which the Tevatron has are a far better understood detectors and a larger luminosity sample but the first is lost with time (as ATLAS/CMS analyse and understand their detector data better) and the second is hard to significantly improve on given their already large data sample. The far higher energy of the LHC means that once the first data run is collected it will be very hard for the Tevatron to continue to compete with new physics. To give you an idea of the advantage a higher energy gives simply increasing the Tevatron energy from 1.8 TeV to 1.96 TeV (i.e. 10%) increased the number of top quark pairs produced by ~40%. The LHC energy is 350% that of the Tevatron so it is hard to see how they will be competitive with typical new, high energy phenomena after the first LHC run.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @03:40PM (#33035434) Homepage

    It might be essential but it saddens me a bit how much of a let down the LHC has been. Fermliab however has been a real story of inspiration. I hope we see results from Geneva in the future but so far it's not exactly been inspiring stuff and this decision to shut down everything sounds a bit OTT.

    The LHC has beaten the Tevatron for the record of highest energy collision which was around 1 TeV, and they've since completed collisions at 3.5 TeV. True, that's half the planned capability of 7 TeV and they're way behind the original timeline, but the LHC has already broken new ground. Before they shut down they hope to have a decent amount of 3.5 TeV data, then fix shit and still hit their target. I wish all my failures were that good, particularly if I was doing bleeding-edge science no one has done before. I did remember a story about one of the scientists working on that Mars probe that crashed due to the feet/meter thing, she'd been working on it for 7 years which went up in a ball of fire. Now that's failure.

  • by ozbird ( 127571 ) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:47PM (#33037310)
    You're off by a factor of 2. The individual beams are currently running at 3.5 TeV; the collisions are at 7 TeV. The goal is to ramp up to 7 TeV beams for 14 TeV collisions.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson