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Steve Nahn | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

Back from the Blogging Sabbatical

Yes, been gone for far too long. July saw the arrival of my family in Geneve for a week, plus a move to new digs sans ethernet but with a great view:
A Porch with a view
Not having ethernet at home doesn’t bode well for blogging – I feel guilty writing when I should be working. But we got our 10 million channel detector working reasonably well, detecting Cosmic rays with the rest of CMS. This is a great step, but the Cosmic trigger rate is considerably less than what we expect at the LHC, so we still have to wait to see how well we’ll do with beam, and it won’t be too long now.

Then August, and a trip to Maine (Acadia NP) to get reacquainted with my family as well as some old friends from Fermilab who we used to go camping with, as described in my first blog appearance by a Quantum Diary writer. It’s pretty obvious who I am in the story. Anyway, 4.5 families of 4 in a house in Maine for a week, no ethernet or even cell coverage there, but we’re all still friends and had some really really good seafood. When I came back, I took my laptop in for repairs, as it did not run and charge at the same time, which added chaos into the normal work day for me. Well, 10 days, two motherboards, one keyboard, and a LCD display cable later it seems to have recovered, although again a week without my laptop doesn’t help the blogging (especially when my kids tie up the home computer during their laconic end of summer…)

But now I’m back, back at MIT, and will try to add my color commentary to the reports we get from those bloggers lucky enough to be there on the front lines. I’ll hop back and forth to Geneve a few times this fall, but in fact as others have mentioned it is very hard to predict exactly when beam will turn on – those who plan to go for “first beam” will probably be disapppointed due to some hiccup which pushes it just past the tenure of their stay. But it will come, of that I’m sure, and all indications are that the hiccups if any will be small. Meanwhile there is a fresh crop of yound and very enthusiastic students just coming in, and someone needs to teach them some Electromagnetism (it helps when your experiment has built the largest doorbell magnet in the world, though that’s not what we use it for…) so we’re off to a new semester.

The activity at the experiment is centered around being ready for the first collisions, the detector is closed up now (finally we cannot try to mess around with the 0.1% that isn’t working normally!  Striving for perfection can be a pain, and counterproductive as well!) and they are starting to run the magnet regularly.  You know how you feel when you are almost to the top of a very long roller coaster climb – anxious and excited about the ride ahead?  Hold on!

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