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Mike Anderson | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

Running with Scissors

303px-Schere_Gr_99

We are at the stage now where the ability to crank up the intensity and energy of the LHC beams to full power is at hand.  We’re like a toddler that just learned to walk: the urge to run is present and exciting, but the probability of banging our head would be high!

It has been decided through many meetings, and with considerations of experts on the front lines, that the highest, safest energy the beams can be run at without major repairs is 3.5 TeV per beam with an instantaneous luminosity of 2*1032/cm2/sec. (The LHC was designed for 7 TeV per beam and an intensity of 1034/cm2/sec.)

More intensity means more proton collisions, and more energy means high probability of interesting collisions.  Unfortunately, high intensity and high energy also means high risk of accidents – like the one in Sep 2008.

With that in mind, management decided to balance safety of the machine with the drive to explore and make discoveries.  So, the current plan sets a goal of collecting a specific amount of data, 1 fb-1, before shutting down for one or two years starting around the beginning of 2012 for repairs and upgrades.

If nature is hiding secrets in areas we now expect them, then this should provide enough data for discovering some of them, or at least allow ruling out some theories – and all without hurting ourselves.

-Mike

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