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Katherine Copic | USLHC | USA

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ATLAS meeting near the ATLAS mountains

Welcome to LAr week

I arrived this morning in Marrakech, Morocco, for ATLAS’s “Liquid Argon Week.” No, we’re not going out in search of liquid argon in the desert. I’m going to meet up with colleagues that I work with to make sure our part of ATLAS is ready go when the first collisions of the LHC take place.

The ATLAS experiment has many different pieces, and each piece measures different aspects of the collisions provided by the accelerator. The piece that I work on is called the Liquid Argon Calorimeter. A calorimeter is a device that measures energy. Ours is called the “Liquid Argon” (abbreviated to “LAr”) calorimeter because liquid argon is the substance inside the detector that lets us know that particles passed through it. As particles from the LHC collisions enter the argon, they ionize the argon and we can infer the energy of the particles from the ions they left behind. Argon is usually a gas at room temperature, but the gas would not be dense enough to help us measure the energy well. We have to cool the argon to -186 degrees Celsius (about -300 degrees F) to use it in ATLAS! If you want to learn more about how the calorimeter works, I recommend this video which explains many of the ATLAS subsystems with great illustrations. There are actually four different types of liquid argon calorimeters used in ATLAS, but they share many of the same tools and challenges, so all the people working on those detectors form the “Liquid Argon Calorimeter Group” within ATLAS.

People who work on these calorimeters get together every few months to share their progress and make plans for the future. The same thing is done for other systems of ATLAS: there is a “muon detector week” and an “inner detector week” and then there are weeks for all of ATLAS to get together. Usually these weeks are at held at CERN, but once a year, they may be held outside CERN. The outside-of-CERN weeks give one of the groups a chance to show their colleagues around their home town. It also gives people from that area a break from travelling all the way to CERN. Being away also allows/forces people to get away from their usual offices, tasks, and social circles at CERN. There are scheduled talks, and a lot of other important and useful discussions take place over coffee (or mint tea!) or lunch or dinner while people are away
from home, together.

This week, our Liquid Argon Calorimeter colleagues from Morocco have invited us all to meet in Marrakech. We’ll have four days of meetings on different topics relating to the calorimeters, and then a free day at the end of the week for exploring. There will be a big dinner one night with Moroccan food — I’m looking forward to that!

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7 Responses to “ATLAS meeting near the ATLAS mountains”

  1. Jason Bauknight says:

    Have any protesters shown up?

  2. Katherine Copic says:

    Protesters? It took me a second to figure out what kind of protesters they might be — was there something in Moroccan politics I was missing? Would people be protesting about Gaza or Israel in the center of Marrakech, like in Geneva? No – I’m guessing you’re asking about protesters of the LHC experiments. I haven’t seen anyone here protesting us, and in fact, I have never seen any LHC protesters… anywhere.

  3. Seth Zenz says:

    I saw about three in front of CERN on September 10.

  4. Didi Mousse says:

    Hmmm. I wonder why a February conference would be set in Morroco instead of Switzerland? :-)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/5day.shtml?world=0126

    Keep up the good work and see you all in July!

  5. Harbles says:

    @Seth
    That must have been PETH.

    “” a new group calling themselves People for the Ethical Treatment of Hadrons (PETH) are worried about the health of the subatomic particles. “”

    Anthropomorphizing a quark – gluon plasma, what a species!

  6. Seth Zenz says:

    Didi — meanwhile, the major meeting on the LHC is going on at Chamonix during ski season. So it’s not just warm weather!

  7. Jason Bauknight says:

    I read about romania’s conservative party protesting the LHC. I’ve read of the spoofers/PETH group too, albeit. I do not rely on wikpedia for data, but I was just mildly curious…

    “On 9 September 2008, Romania’s Conservative Party held a protest before the European Commission mission to Bucharest, demanding that the experiment be halted because it feared that the LHC could create dangerous black holes.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safety_of_particle_collisions_at_the_Large_Hadron_Collider

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