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Paul Jackson | CERN | Switzerland

View Blog | Read Bio

Nearly there……we hope…..

Cautious optimism continues. The scene in the ATLAS control room is, shall we say, busier than normal. As you can see from these pictures:

The ATLAS control room, with lots of people waiting eagerly

The ATLAS control room, with lots of people waiting eagerly

Same people, similar time, different view. Note the gathered press etc through the glass!!

Same people, similar time, different view. Note the gathered press etc through the glass!!

It’s all looking quite positive as I write this. It’s almost 8pm and I couldn’t make it into the control room myself (the last meeting of my day was ongoing until about 7.30pm so I was out of luck) but I’m of the opinion that too many cooks spoil the broth on this one. Plus, I am far from necessary to make the dream a reality at this point. Still, I’m a little jealous of these very excited people. So I am hearing from friends, via text message and facebook updates how things are going in the ACR. It sounds like a good time, but a nervous time, is being had by all.

I’m also keeping track of the beam progress here where we can nicely see that things are progressing smoothly.

A screenshot for those interested is below:

Back in 15 mins (gone for a coffee and a smoke!)

Back in 15 mins (gone for a coffee and a smoke!)

One thing I like very much is to look at the *actual* ATLAS web cams. Not the control room, with all the people milling around, most of whom are pretending to look important in case they get caught on camera yawning. The *actual* detector which you can see here.
There’s a screenshot at the bottom part of the page.

ATLAS: what's all this talk about beam then?

ATLAS: what's all this talk about beam then?

I love looking at these pictures of the detector, because it reminds me of one thing. Nobody is down there. Trust me, I’ve looked. I keep checking these webcams expecting to see some joker who’s trying to get a better view, or making a political statement, but of course that’s not possible, the protection and safety systems simply would not allow it. So while we all look at our screens on the surface, the real action is quite a lonely interaction, between beam and detector. It is that separation, the fact that we can’t really be down there when “it” happens, when anything happens, that is really quite poetic. The fact that one can look side-by-side at these actual shots of the detector, and of the people controlling it is a very interesting thing, and something I’m finding to be an amusing experiment. When some activity occurs in the detector, that is beam related, this counting room will explode into life. People will be cheering, there will be champagne, back slapping, who know, maybe the odd high-five, and all of that good stuff. Might I add, this is very well deserved as some of these people work extremely hard to see such things, and have been waiting for this moment for many many years. However, contrast that with the picture of the detector at that very same moment. She will be a picture of tranquility and calm, almost oblivious to what has gone on; and as people celebrate above her, drinking and cheering, ATLAS will still sit there with a look of, “was that it?” slapped all over her muon chambers.

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