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Steve Nahn | USLHC | USA

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The nomadic summer

Ah, just spent some time getting the summer organized. The plan of attack is to abandon wife and family for June at CERN, then they come over to visit (feel a little like I’m in prison! They get visitation rights!) for a week in July, plus see some old friends, I head back in August and visit them, and maybe come back to CERN for a bit before returning to MIT for fall classes (which will be interesting, since I am also “course administrator” which is a code word for lots of chores with little fun- it’s one of those things you can really only mess up…).

Plus, there’s a trip to Cyprus for our collaboration meeting. It’s the first CMS meeting away, and so will be pretty interesting. When these meetings happen at the lab, most people tend to ignore the meeting, and focus on keeping up on their regular day to day activities instead. When they put the meeting elsewhere, there’s not much you can do about the day to day, so it tends to be more focused, and therefore more productive. In addition, people tend to spend more time with their collaborators eating and finding entertainment outside of meeting hours, which is better for collaboration building. However, I noticed a very strange thing about Cyprus, which I will share with you.

Cyprus flights

For reasons which are yet a mystery to me, flying to Cyprus for a reasonable amount of money means arriving in the middle of the night. The return is the same way – the reasonable flights all leave between 2 AM and 4 AM. The only flight which doesn’t arrive way early involves a 17 hr with 11 hours at Heathrow (ick). I’m a little worried about why this is, if anyone cares to explain it to me, I guess I want to hear it.

Anyway, it will be very exciting at CERN this summer – and a bit frustrating. Think about finally getting to do what you have planning to do for twenty years or so and then having all these annoying little issues that keep putting things off. This is what it is like, when you have a small chance of something breaking in any of many many components, there is a fair amount of unforseen issues that have to be dealt with. They’re not showstoppers, but with everyone holding their breath for the first interaction, you can get a lot of oxygen deprivation, let’s say. The Tracker cooling is experiencing something like that right now – first time working with the full system, some new issues being discovered or failures of supposedly reliable components, most of which we of the Tracker group don’t even have control over (they fall into someone else’s scope) but we are still waiting to get all the services lined up to be able to turn the detector on fully, and everyone is getting a little antsy. I keep telling my students to get used to it, every detector system goes through these growing pains, and the LHC detectors will be no different…so dear readers I guess you should know too that while I fully believe we’ll get the machine and detectors running, it may take a while, so only hold your breath if you look good in blue.

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