If you were to analyze my daily life based on my posts, you would probably conclude that my average day consists of sitting around in the control room, sitting around in meetings, taking cosmic data, being interrupted by power cuts and cabling things. And today I am certainly 4 for 5 in that list. I spent most of the week in the control room, squeezed in a few meeting, took some cosmic data and was stopped by a full power cut thus ending all attempts at data taking. I have yet to cable anything, but the day is still young.
We are in yet another ‘combined running’ week which is a lot like one of the milestone weeks. But unlike the Milestone weeks which combined all sub-systems in ATLAS, in this week we are only combining the calorimeters: TileCal, Liquid Argon, and the level-one calorimeter trigger. Pretty much from now until beam, we will be having combined running weeks. For example Calo-week this week, or Muon-week, or Inner Detector week or Muon-Calo week, etc.
What we get with the combined running weeks is priceless: the chance to see the sub-systems all running together and to be part of the intensity in the control room as everyone works to get ATLAS ready for beam. But it is not without frustration. When you build any detector, especially something this big, patience is a necessity. Take this week for example, we want to run some tests of our timing but we are delayed several hours because of DAQ problems. Finally we start the tests and the control goes dark due to the power cut. This is life when commissioning a detector. It is a 3-to-1 ratio. What you think will take one hour, always ends up taking three. And it is incredibly frustrating but there is nothing you can do but wait.
That is the control room life. Long periods of nothing, followed by intense periods of frantic activity. Ah! The power is back. The waiting is over, its time to go again!