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Ken Bloom | USLHC | USA

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Local news

Admittedly, it is a little harder to follow all the LHC excitement if you are here in the US rather than at CERN.  The announcement of first collisions on Monday came while I was teaching my class, and I’ve been trying to piece together the whole story by talking to our people over there and reading the slides from various meetings.  Of note was a public meeting at CERN yesterday (yes, Thanksgiving Day, another impediment if you are in the US) with presentations from Steve Meyers, CERN’s director for accelerators, and the four LHC experiments.  See the slides and video here.  As everyone else has been saying, the past week has been a thrill (or at least a vicarious one!) for the LHC, the four experiments on the ring, and really all of HEP.  Check out Meyers’s slides in particular, where he documents just how far we have come in the past fourteen months.  The experiments have turned around information from these first few collisions very quickly; some detectors are already able to reconstruct decays of the neutral pion, for instance.  We have huge expectations for the next set of collisions and then for the increases in collision energy that will follow.

My particular contribution to CMS has been in computing, and I’m happy to say that all of that has gone quite smoothly so far.  The prompt reconstruction of events went off without a hitch, and data was flowing very quickly out of CERN to the Tier-1 and Tier-2 sites.  We soon lost track of how many sites had copies of the collision data, and now we’re seeing plenty of people use the distributed computing system to analyze it.  When the next round of collisions comes, we’ll be ready to do it all again.

So while it’s hard to follow the news up to the minute, I’m still connected to the start of a great particle physics adventure.  I’m trying to drag the rest of Nebraska along with me — we managed to get a release placed in the local paper, and if you read this post soon enough, you can hear me at 8:30 AM Central time on Saturday 11/28 on KZUM, Lincoln’s community radio station.  I’ve already taped the interview; let’s hope I didn’t sound incoherent!  (At least when I type the blog posts, there is a backspace key….).

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