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Zachary Marshall | USLHC | USA

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The Beam is Back – with Sound!

It keeps going and coming back, but (at least for me) it hasn’t lost the thrill. I’m sure in a few months this will be boring, but right now: the beam is back in the LHC!!!

Beam coming back into the LHC

Mike wrote about this page a few days ago. I’m in the control room again, and there are about 15 pretty tired physicists here with me (it’s 5:30am on Sunday morning, and we’ve been here for at least 6 or 7 hours by now). But you can see everyone start to perk up when the beam comes back.

The most entertaining part of the return is the return of the sound effects. When the LHC main control room says they are ‘ready’, an alarm goes off in here that sounds like we’re on the bridge of the Enterprise and we’re under attack. I keep expecting read lights to start flashing and for someone to tell us to stumble to our left!

Every once in a while, the beam gets steered off course and is “dumped” out of the machine (actually, a kinda cool process where it’s “painted” across a block of graphite down a side tunnel so the energy can be safely absorbed). If they intended to dump the beam, then all’s quiet here. If something went wrong, a loud FLUSH (toilet flush) plays in the control room. Right now I’m watching the pixel detector, and I’m also responsible for checking (when there is a toilet flush) if there might have been damage to ATLAS after the beam was dumped.

Now back to listening for the toilet flush!!

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