For the last 10 weeks or so, the Tevatron has been off for scheduled maintenance. During this time I could focus more on data analysis and I got paged a lot less, but I really missed taking data. Accelerator Division has been doing machine studies the last few days, checking out their tune-ups and repairs, and today they went through most of the steps to making the proton-antiproton collisions which CDF and D0 observe and record. I should mention that they weren’t scheduled to make collisions until the 19th, but it seems things were going ahead of schedule. At 4pm or so, today, when the Tevatron main control room declared “Shot Setup” I hung out in the CDF control room for a bit, hoping to be around when the first collisions happened. This was partially because a grad student from my research group is on shift for the first time, partially because I figured I’d just get paged when the run started anyway. Really, I just miss the feeling of being where the action starts, just a few floors above the collisions, and surrounded by all the DAQ computers, crunching away. Looks like there won’t be any collisions tonight, but we’re still ahead of schedule.
You can follow the progress of the Tevatron on twitter here.
which is basically as good and fresh a source of info as the official channels.