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Pam Klabbers | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

The Contribution of Coffee to Physics

I started this on a friday, about 17:00 (5pm) when we’d been working all day underground again. We had endured one water cooling failure, network problems, and various configuration problems all day. It was a frustrating day so far, and it was hard to keep oneself motivated. Fortunately we have colleagues willing to set us up with a supply of coffee to help keep us going. We just contribute 50 Euro cents per cup (honor system) to pay for this supply.

To make it, one just takes the little aluminum coffee capsule (no advertising here for the brand), puts it in the coffee maker, fills the back with water if it is empty, puts a cute little plastic Euro-sized cup under the nozzle, presses one of two cup-size buttons, and in a few seconds…voila! you have coffee, hot and strong, with minimal mess.

Normally I object to these capsules because of the waste, but we don’t have a way to keep the coffee maker by a sink or anything, so these little capsules are the way to go. Its hard to keep the area clean anyways.

This keeps us going through our day. Now, not everyone drinks coffee, and some don’t even like the smell, so it is probably tough to sit downstairs near the maker. But I used to sneak sips from my mom’s cup at an early age, and we’d make a sort of cafe au lait after dinner with our leftover milk, so I guess it is natural that I am still drinking it.

The funny thing is, I don’t use it to stay up late like some folks. If I have a difficult project and I am falling behind, I usually get up early (have some coffee, of course) and get started with a fresh outlook.  I’m terrible at staying up late.

And soon, speaking of staying up late, I will probably do a shift. We are starting a two-week period taking data using cosmic-rays (mostly muons – a heavy electron, basically) to integrate and test our detector (all but three endcap disks have been lowered – its getting cozy in the cavern) and the various bits of software and hardware that we use to collect the data. The days will be managed by experts on the system, and the non-experts will take shifts…going from 17:00-1:00 (swing) and from 1:00-9:00 (graveyard). I volunteered early, with the hope that I could “reserve” swing shift. I won’t function properly for days if I do graveyard, its like jet-lag. Either way, I am glad I only have 2 km to drive home after shift to lovely downtown Versonnex.

Maybe it will be easy, and I can catch up on my blogging….I can only dream.

A la prochain…

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