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Adam Yurkewicz | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

Still busy

Since the detectors were ready for proton collisions last year before the explosion in the LHC forced a long delay for repairs, you might think we have nothing to do but wait right now (for those of us not working on the repairs).  After all, we were ready last year, weren’t we?  Well, yes and no.  I, for one, am busier now than I have been in quite a while.
While we were definitely ready for data last year, we were only expecting to have a short data-taking period before the usual long winter shutdown of the LHC.  So we planned to use the small amount of data during the long shut down to calibrate our detector and prepare for a longer run where we could accumulate enough good data to produce our first results.
After the LHC incident, we instead ran our detector for several months with no beam, and accumulated data about millions and millions of muons traveling through our detector.  And in fact with these data we have been able to do much of the calibration work we had planned to do anyway with the collision data.  So we’ve still been able to do a lot of the calibration we planned to do, although we haven’t been able to do all we could have done with collision data.
We also always have some small parts of our detector which fail and need to be repaired or replaced.  And we also have found that a few things that need to be extremely reliable (such as parts to transmit our data from usually inaccesible places underground to the surface that we rarely have access to for repairs) that we installed last year just weren’t as reliable as they were supposed to be and already need to be replaced with redesigned parts.  So this part of our work also hasn’t changed much with the LHC delay.
Another thing we are working on right now is putting in place software to analyze the first data when we get it.  While we were ready to record data last year, we did not have done all the software tools to analyze it quickly.  If we have collisions this year, we plan to already have in place the tools to analyze that data and have first results ready in a few months.
Finally, we found out a few months ago that next year’s run of the LHC will be at a slightly lower energy than the final design calls for (10 TeV instead of 14 TeV).  This affects us a bit because our simulations were done with the 14TeV energy in mind, so re-doing these simulations at 10TeV is another thing people have been working on.
So we are quite busy, and not just waiting for the LHC folks to finish the repairs.  But whenever the repairs are done, we will be even more ready for the data than last year!

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