An important piece of news that almost got lost in the excitement of the Higgs update seminar on 4 July is that the 2012 LHC proton run is to be extended.
On 3 July, a meeting was held between the CERN Management and representatives of the LHC and the experiments to discuss the merits of increasing the data target for this year in the light of the announcement to be made the following day. The conclusion was that an additional seven weeks of running would allow the luminosity goal for the year to be increased from 15 inverse femtobarns to 20, giving the experiments a good supply of data to work on during the LHCs first long shut-down (LS1), and allowing them to make progress in determining the properties of the new particle whose discovery was announced last week.
The current LHC schedule foresees proton running reaching a conclusion on 16 October, with a proton-ion run scheduled for November. In the preliminary new schedule, proton running is planned to continue until 16 December, with the proton-ion run starting after the Christmas stop on 18 January and continuing until 10 February. With a final Higgs update for 2012 scheduled to be given to Council during the week of 10 December, an early Christmas present in the form of new insights into the discovery announced last week could be on the cards.
Explore further: Researchers demonstrate ultra low-field nuclear magnetic resonance using Earth's magnetic field