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Gavin Hesketh | CERN | Switzerland

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Tour de CERN

I have the first 3 weeks of my Fellowship here at CERN to choose which experiment to join. This is really a nice situation to be in, but it is going to come down to a difficult decision.

Over the last week I’ve been visiting the various experiments, apart
from ATLAS – many ATLAS people were in Barcelona for a collaboration week (life is hard as a physicist!). It turns out the CERN group on CMS is made up of quite a few people I know from D0, so it is good to see familiar faces as well as learn about the detector. And I was definitely geeking out a bit this week about the CMS detector, and the is really quite impressive.

Also got to visit a couple of the experimental halls: for CMS and LHCb. Turn out I was very lucky with LHCb, the hall is now closed for beam injection studies. And I learned a few new facts to add to my
collection: there is apparently more iron in CMS than in the Eiffel
Tower (this can’t be correct, surely??); and there is more energy stored in the huge CMS magnet than in the entire rest of the LHC; and: the CMS silicon tracking system has more silicon than all previous particle physics experiments combined. But, no photos – the cable for my camera must still be sitting in a box in Chicago waiting to be shipped over.

One more thing – I can confirm also that LHCb is not doing “nuclear physics”, despite the recent press. I’m not really sure what to make of this coverage: obviously we do not yet know the full story behind Dr Hicheur’s arrest, but is the media coverage because the LHC is in the public eye these days, or is it because of some “angles & demons” type conspiracy theory? As Paul says, the liberal use of the word “nuclear” suggests the latter.

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