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Adam Yurkewicz | USLHC | USA

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The Waiting is the Hardest Part

After the sprint out of the gate by the LHC and even rumors of collisions coming much sooner than expected, things have slowed down here for the last few days.  I am in the ATLAS control room on shift from 3pm-11pm, Monday-Thursday this week, and I had dreams that the LHC would collide some low energy beams during that time and I could celebrate again in the control room.  Instead it is Wednesday night, I just ate a terrible “Poulet Curry” sandwich from the cafeteria, and the LHC hasn’t had any beams at all in the last few days.

In the meantime, everyone here has been working with their piece of the detector.  The other 2 people and me who are at the liquid argon calorimeter desk have been learning a lot about the various procedures which are still new to us, updating/improving documentation, recording calibration data, and responding to small problems here and there.

Last night we recorded calibration data for most of the shift.  Then, we tried to record some cosmic muons data, but had several problems reading out our detector that stopped us.  After several hours of trying, we finally started recording data just as the shift ended.  Tonight, we have taken only about 20 minutes of data due to various problems, the last being a magnet quench.  And we are back to waiting.

The accelerator folks keep moving the time for putting some beam back into the LHC back every few hours.  It was estimated at 7pm when we got here at 3pm.  The current estimate at 10pm is no beam before 2am.  Maybe tomorrow night during my shift there will at least be one beam circulating through ATLAS.  And then hopefully only a few more days until collisions.  Just have to wait and see.

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