• John
  • Felde
  • University of Maryland
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • USLHC
  • USLHC
  • USA

  • James
  • Doherty
  • Open University
  • United Kingdom

Latest Posts

  • Andrea
  • Signori
  • Nikhef
  • Netherlands

Latest Posts

  • CERN
  • Geneva
  • Switzerland

Latest Posts

  • Aidan
  • Randle-Conde
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Belgium

Latest Posts

  • TRIUMF
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Canada

Latest Posts

  • Laura
  • Gladstone
  • MIT
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Steven
  • Goldfarb
  • University of Michigan

Latest Posts

  • Fermilab
  • Batavia, IL
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Seth
  • Zenz
  • Imperial College London
  • UK

Latest Posts

  • Nhan
  • Tran
  • Fermilab
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Alex
  • Millar
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australia

Latest Posts

  • Ken
  • Bloom
  • USLHC
  • USA

Latest Posts

Lucie de Nooij | NIKHEF | The Netherlands

View Blog | Read Bio

Mail from the GD

The future came a little bit closer today: this morning I opened my email and found the email by the CERN’s General Director. The LHC will start up in 2009. Last year at October 21st the LHC was start-up for the first time. Everything went extremely well, the protons made their rounds in both ways and the first collisions were almost a fact when one of magnets quenched and actually jumped out of its concrete foot. Only an enormous force can make a 35 ton magnet jump, so the “accident” (as this disaster is euphemistically referred to) must have been pretty spectacular. It took a few weeks to found out what happend. And it took a year to fix it and test the rest of the magnets. Any suspected magnets were fixed, the tunnel will be cleared shortly. We will be good to go in the next few months.

If I am asked by non-physics friends “why it is taking so long”, I compare the construction of the LHC with telling the brothers Wright in the beginning of last century to build a Boeing 747 and fly it. It takes them 20 years to design, construct and finalize the plane. When they decide to make it fly, it actually takes off. Everybody is astonished. After a short flght, something appears to be wrong and the plane crashes. A year later they make it fly. Pretty amazing, I would say.

The delays of start-up should not make us loose our spirits. The fact that the experiments work so well, that we can use the Grid and managed to surfive the accusation that we want to turn the Universe inside out, should be enough reason to be very enthousiastic. If the LHC will run properly from 2009, even at lower energy, I think we can be very proud that humanity has accomplished something beyond the imagination of our fellow humans of  30 years ago. With the risk of sounding soggy, I believe that the combined effort of people and governments from all over the world to fight for something as abstract as scientific truth, is something very beautiful.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank the GD for making my day.

Share