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Paul Jackson | CERN | Switzerland

View Blog | Read Bio

Packed House

Several hundred CERN residents crammed themselves into the Main auditorium this warm and sunny afternoon for
an update on the LHC schedule, and what turned out to be a free sauna.

The Director General (often referred to, in the spirit for acronym adulation, as the DG) gave a brief summary on the
details of the CERN Council meeting. For those of you who are not aware what this is (I rank amongst you but
I’ll give a summary of my understanding) it entails a select group of individuals representing the member states and
prominent physicists who, in essence, decide on the direction of CERN. The DG mentioned many things, one which
I picked up on was the applications from Cyprus, Serbia, Turkey, Israel to become new member states. There was
a 5th letter of intent to apply from Slovenia. The discussion of the ratification of the five applications was postponed
until December, at which time it sounds like all of them applicants will be given the green light. It sounds like the
council week, which just occurred, was rife with lots of discussion and planning.

The DG’s talk was essentially a teaser for the main event of the afternoon which was CERN accelerator physicist
Steve Myers giving a summary of the LHC schedule and an update on the repair status and current plans. The talk
was extremely detailed and his usual blend of jovial discussion with accurate description of complex problems such
that practically the entire audience could grasp at least the gist of the slides. The talk consisted of 122 slides which
Myers described as having been, “cut it down by a factor of 2 this morning.” It covered a few topics, chief amongst
them being the LHC shutdown work, splice measurement, powering and tunnel access restrictions and, the one that
most of the crowd had gathered for, the LHC schedule and strategy. You can catch the live webcast here, or if you have the access the video is in CDS here.

The bottom line I would say is good news, compared to many rumors which have been flying around the place
in recent weeks. There are repairs to be made and they will not know the outcome of these tests on all sectors
until early August but the schedule will only slip by a matter of weeks and not months.

There was one thing noticeably missing from Myers’ presentation though: dates. The reason is that they just
cannot predict the results of the further tests required on the potentially errant connections in the sectors
still under test and so, before calling the worlds press to CERN again, they seem to be taking a more cautious
approach. A wise move I would say.

Still, the news looks promising for collisions in the LHC later this year and all that can be said is,
we’ll keep you posted.

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