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Steve Nahn | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

Back from the dead

Oops, sorry about the hiatus. In some sense blogging is somewhere between a luxury and a requirement, so I guess the lack of blogs is a sign that I’m busy doing what I should be doing, which is a good thing since I don’t get paid or get grant money for blogging.

Nonetheless, there’s been some interesting things going on. Our beautiful tracker is going to move to its final resting place – the CMS cavern! It will be tough to get it installed before the holidays but we don’t want to wait until afterwards, so (at least according to the latest info – this is of course subject to change) in it will go. Just to give you a feel for what this device is, it is the largest Silicon tracking device ever built, with over 200 square meters of silicon wafers , think of a backyard swimming pool or tennis court covered in 0.5 mm thick silicon wafers. Currently this object resides in a clean room at CERN where we tested the bejeezus out of it over the first six months of 2007, but we closed up shop in the beginning of July to get it ready for transport (which took 2 months) However, things at the experiment went a bit slower than expected, so the last few months it has ben waiting for things over there to be ready. This is not the kind of device you want to bring ahead of time and then look to stash it someplace – way too fragile for that. We sort of knew this would happen, and it is a little bit too bad we wrapped up early, but as far as schedule goes it is far better to be early than late. Just to put a scale on things, here’s a picture of an older Silicon device from the LEP era compared with ours:

Opal vs. CMS Silicon

 

Alan and Marcello are holding the Opal Silicon detector, and the aluminum cylinder behind them with the spaghetti (actually cables) on the end is the same detector for CMS.

 

First the detector has to make the drive – roughly 15 km at around 5 km/hour (that’s 10 miles at 3 mph for you metriphobes), a 3 hour trip starting at 10:00 PM. The truck is a super-special truck with the ability to measure accelerations in real time, not to mention a highly advanced suspension system. All roads along the way will be closed to all traffic except the tracker (the French are good at this, they do it for bike races all the time). We insured for at least 2 Million Swiss Francs ($1.6 Million) but there was talk of upping that a bit, so it may be more.

Still, that doesn’t take the cake for transport this year. In my book, that honor goes to the Katrin experiment which my good friend Joe Fromaggio is on. He gave a seminar the other day and showed us how they got their behemoth spectrometer through a little town in Germany on its way home:

Thumbnail of Katrin

This is not an LHC experiment, it is an experiment to measure the mass of the neutrino, but it is still one of those big questions we don’t have the answer for yet.

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