Friday, August 08, 2008

Countdown to Doomsday?

This article in New Scientist Space gives details about the Large Hadron Collider's switch on date and a timetable for the early experiments.

10th September 2008 First Injection and testing of the LHC starts

The protons might get just a few metres into their 27-km circuit before veering off course and being lost, so the operations team will adjust the magnets and try again with a fresh beam until they have systematically threaded the protons around the entire machine. That could take from a few hours to a few days with a crew working around the clock. Then, the team will have to do the same for the beam in the other direction.

The next challenge will be to get the beams in a stable orbit for several hours at a time. Only then can CERN contemplate ramping up the energy to 5 TeV and finally bringing the counter-rotating beams head on at a collision energy of 10 TeV.

If luck is on their side, that should take place around the time of the official LHC inauguration on 21 October.

In early 2009, the protons are set to collide at the full energy of 14 TeV.

Aluminium Foil Helmet's anyone?

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