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Monica Dunford | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

In the Maze

Ah, the ATLAS counting rooms. The destination of many of the cables coming from the detector. It is quite a nice series of rooms. All with raised flooring so that cables can be run underneath. There are a large number of racks with water cooling for each sub-detector. Most of my time underground is spent in the counting room also known as USA15 (which does not stand for United States of America). I can be found usually near the Tile racks on the first level or the Level-one trigger racks on the second level (which is where Tile’s trigger cables are).

But I am not the only person working in USA15. And sometimes the work patterns of the other sub-systems can turn the counting room into a human maze. Suddenly just getting from point A to point B becomes an amusement-park challenge.

Let’s take this particular day last week for example. It went something like this…

Finish tests on the upper level and start lugging heavy oscilloscope back downstairs to the Tile racks. Lo and behold, people are running cable and they have removed a piece of the floor near the door.


No problem. Will use other door on this side. Work self through TRT racks to other door. More people working. Naturally.


Will take back route. Go back through TRT racks, past stairs with intention to go behind elevator wall. Hm. See many level-one people frantically cabling on both sides of the racks. Do not look like they wish to be disturbed.


Go back upstairs. Can’t we get a lighter oscilloscope? Cross the upper level, take the outside stairs down to hallway on the lower level. People on other side of door have one section of the floor removed. Is this a joke? Observe that people behind door are in the same cabling group as those on the right-hand side door. Obviously they are running cable under the hallway. Should have seen this when I first tried to exit on the right-hand side door.


Retrace steps. Back upstairs, then downstairs to level-one cabling people. Apologize profusely as I interrupt them to pass. Stagger to Tile racks to put down scope. Right arm is now completely dead. Will be one-hand typing for the rest of day.


Now must get to elevator. Head back to the level-one racks, interrupt a different set of level-one cablers. Again apologize profusely. Back upstairs, across the upper level, and downstairs. Notice that hallway cablers are done. Both doors now clear. Typical. Head to elevator. Success! Have conquered the maze again!