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Paul Jackson | CERN | Switzerland

View Blog | Read Bio

ATLAS week

ATLAS.....behind that big wooden ball!

ATLAS.....behind that big wooden ball!

The masses have gathered, one and all, once again here at CERN for
the second ATLAS week of 2009. LHC start-up strategy features high on the agenda, along with
impressive updates regarding the detector status and plans to have us prepared for first LHC
beams later this year. It’s always a busy time and with this meeting coming in the summertime
where more faculty and students have time away from class to attend the number of participants is
likely a bit higher than usual.

If you are resident at CERN, as I am, it’s not perhaps as useful as it is for those collaborators
coming from further afield to get their ATLAS fix. A lot of the information is available during
the slew of regular meetings and so the overview week is a good time to take stock and see
where work is heading. From my own perspective things are getting excitingly busy. The calibration
of the pixel detector is coming along well, and the software I’m putting together to make this global
task more manageable for people is starting to take real, and useful, shape. I’m planning to
start ramping to take many more shifts over the coming months, with some extra training still to do,
I should be useful in the control room before too long. Other than that I’m making good progress on
analysis activities and work on the upgrade. But this is a time to touch base with far away collaborators
and continue in person the work we often do remotely. The ‘weeks’ do provide a good time for
reflection, but also a time for focus. With such a large collaboration and mandate it is hard sometimes to
keep track of the global picture of the experiment and the achievements that are made on a daily basis.
We are increasing the efficiency of the detector little by little, have completed another combined run
to collect and analyse Cosmic Rays (many millions were taken) and we are testing new procedures
and systems which the run coordination and management team want in place before we get things going ‘for
real’.

It’s exciting. We get to see collaborators, many of whom are old friends, arrange BBQs (the ‘ATLAS run BBQ’ is on
Tuesday) and find out how everyones work is coming along. Much of this can come at the expensive of ones
own progress throughout that particular week, but this a small price to pay. It’s important to have your fingers on the
pulse of “your” experiment and to know the activities and the players involved in making it all work.

For ATLAS collaborators coming to CERN from out of town: Welcome, and enjoy the meeting!!

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