Wired reported today on progress being made at the LHC at discovery of the Higgs Boson. They also futuregaze a bit and declare that formal discovery may even be announced in a few weeks' time... Crazy stuff.

Ever since tantalizing hints of the Higgs turned up in December at the Large Hadron Collider, scientists there have been busily analyzing the results of their energetic particle collisions to further refine their search.

“The bottom line though is now clear: There’s something there which looks like a Higgs is supposed to look,” wrote mathematician Peter Woit on his blog, Not Even Wrong. According to Woit, there are rumors of new data that would be the most compelling evidence yet for the long-sought Higgs.

The possible news has a number of physics bloggers speculating that LHC scientists will announce the discovery of the Higgs during the International Conference on High Energy Physics, which takes place in Melbourne, Australia, July 4 to 11.

Head to http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/06/latest-higgs-rumors/?utm_source=googleplus&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=googleplusclickthru for the juicy goodness.

And as a sidenote, yikes! the Blogger interface has changed radically since I last posted through it.

CERN's finest hardcore physics nerds,
busy testing in the confines of the LHC tunnel
At the end of January 2011, CERN announced the then-latest developments in the LHC's shutdown work as 'nearing completion'. Not only were they planning to replace some of the crucial supercooled electromagnets responsible for beam control, they've been testing a newly-commissioned power system, POPS, responsible for juicing the PS Booster.

Related: click to read a 2003 paper by Frank Gerigk proposing various possible designs for the transfer line between LINAC4 and the PS Booster systems.

Work completely fairly swiftly, and since February scaled quite quickly to some impressive, hitherto-unseen levels of collisions. However, it's never smooth sailing running the most powerful particle collider in the world (as you can see in almost-realtime from the LHC's daily operational logs). Back at the end of March, Orbiter.ch published a brief article (including a lovely photo of the LHC's fibre starpoint, where a fraction of CERN's 35,000km of fibre originates) which elaborates further on CERN's progress in stepping up the speed of operations in the first two months of 2011. It's well worth a click, here's a quick quote:

After just a month of operation in 2011, the LHC has already achieved more than half the total number of proton-proton collisions delivered in 2010. The experiments have accumulated an integrated luminosity of 28 pb-1 this year. Integrated luminosity is a measure of the total number of proton-proton collisions measured by the experiments.
-- Orbiter.ch's Space News blog

If you want to stay apprised of all management and technological developments, the best way to do (aside from reading this humble site ;) is to check periodically on CERN's TE meeting minutes pages at https://te-dep.web.cern.ch/te-dep/internal/TEMB_Minutes_2011.html. Not familiar with the TEMB? On their pages, they explain,

The Technology Department is responsible for technologies which are specific to existing particle accelerators, facilities and future projects.

The main domains of activities cover: magnets (superconducting, normal conducting, fast pulsed magnets, electrostatic and magnetic septa), their machine integration and protection, power converters, cryogenics, high and ultra-high vacuum systems, coatings and surface treatments.

The Technology department is responsible for injection and extraction systems in the entire accelerator complex and for beam transfer lines between accelerators and primary beam lines up to targets...

They go on for another page - in a nutshell, everything the LHC does falls under their ultimate purview. Worth keeping tabs on meeting minutes if you want to know the minutiae of running a collider!

Aside: a January 2011 post from Francis' World Inside Out, which has some lovely graphed data, comparisons and discussion on the relative potentials of ATLAS and the CMS projects on finding the Higgs - http://francisworldinsideout.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/a-summary-of-chamonix-2011-lhc-performance-workshop/

The LHC is kindly livestreaming the power-ups, beam alignment and first runs of the LHC - and you can watch from the CMS, ALICE, LHCb or ATLAS (plus the main feed) at the LHC First Physics web site: http://bit.ly/dBhPNq

It's finally getting given a few more beans... From the Grauniad:

Large Hadron Collider – Live!
The waiting is over. The world's largest, most powerful particle accelerator goes into action this morning. The hunt for new particles, forces and dimensions starts here.
The G has a liveblog on their web site which you can set to update every minute.

CERN keeps an up-to-date minisite on various LHC commissioning-related news. Alongside, you can find the full proposed 2010 schedule (warning: PDF) for the beast's activities. They also host a page showing Latest News, blow by blow on a weekly basis.


 

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