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, 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.
--'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 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 -



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