CERN announces start-up date for Large Hadron Collider

Aug 07, 2008
LHC: enormous magnet segment lowered down a shaft
The last of 1746 superconducting magnets is lowered into the LHC tunnel via a specially constructed pit at 12:00 on 26 April. This 15-m long dipole magnet is one of 1232 dipoles positioned around the 27-km circumference of the collider. Dipole magnets produce a magnetic field that bends the particle beams around the circular accelerator. Photo / CERN

CERN has today announced that the first attempt to circulate a beam in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will be made on 10 September. This news comes as the cool down phase of commissioning CERN's new particle accelerator reaches a successful conclusion. Television coverage of the start-up will be made available through Eurovision.

The LHC is the world's most powerful particle accelerator, producing beams seven times more energetic than any previous machine, and around 30 times more intense when it reaches design performance, probably by 2010. Housed in a 27-kilometre tunnel, it relies on technologies that would not have been possible 30 years ago. The LHC is, in a sense, its own prototype.

Starting up such a machine is not as simple as flipping a switch. Commissioning is a long process that starts with the cooling down of each of the machine's eight sectors. This is followed by the electrical testing of the 1600 superconducting magnets and their individual powering to nominal operating current. These steps are followed by the powering together of all the circuits of each sector, and then of the eight independent sectors in unison in order to operate as a single machine.

By the end of July, this work was approaching completion, with all eight sectors at their operating temperature of 1.9 degrees above absolute zero (-271°C). The next phase in the process is synchronization of the LHC with the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) accelerator, which forms the last link in the LHC's injector chain. Timing between the two machines has to be accurate to within a fraction of a nanosecond. A first synchronization test is scheduled for the weekend of 9 August, for the clockwise-circulating LHC beam, with the second to follow over the coming weeks. Tests will continue into September to ensure that the entire machine is ready to accelerate and collide beams at an energy of 5 TeV per beam, the target energy for 2008. Force majeure notwithstanding, the LHC will see its first circulating beam on 10 September at the injection energy of 450 GeV (0.45 TeV).

Once stable circulating beams have been established, they will be brought into collision, and the final step will be to commission the LHC's acceleration system to boost the energy to 5 TeV, taking particle physics research to a new frontier.

'We're finishing a marathon with a sprint,' said LHC project leader Lyn Evans. 'It's been a long haul, and we're all eager to get the LHC research programme underway.'

The event will be webcast through webcast.cern.ch .

Provided by CERN

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User comments : 27

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superhuman
3.6 / 5 (8) Aug 07, 2008
And when is The Big Black scheduled to appear and devour the Earth?

I don't want to miss it!
Modernmystic
2.8 / 5 (8) Aug 07, 2008
Hit the deck! :)
Palli
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 07, 2008
You won't miss it!
googleplex
5 / 5 (6) Aug 07, 2008
LHC collisions will only 7 times faster than the Tevatron. The only concern I have is that the go live date will slip again.
Tevatron has already beat the LHC to some discoveries, but I don't read about those in the mainstream press. Luminosity is 30 times higher than Tevatron at Fermi but I don't think that is as important as the collision energy.
Bonkers
3 / 5 (10) Aug 07, 2008
hey googleplex, why the anti-american conspiracy theory, and good ol' tub-thumping? the LHC was always going to be delayed, shit happens (especially if you use american magnets, heh heh..) . seriously, the rivalry is no fun unless its friendly. A factor of *only* 7 on energy is a big one, and 30xluminosity is massive - a straight 30x increase in the chance of seeing things above the beam energy - where extra energy is borrowed from heisenberg. - not to mention a 30 x increase in all rare events. ahem, you may be experts at making machines that don't drip oil, but leave the big stuff to the grown-ups, eh??
Alexa
5 / 5 (5) Aug 07, 2008
LHC collisions will only 7 times faster than the Tevatron.
It should be enough. The formation of black holes was reported already at much lower energies in RHIC and it's planned seriously by using LHC.

http://www.newsci...d=dn7145
http://news.bbc.c...7613.stm
http://unisci.com...1012.htm
holoman
4.5 / 5 (15) Aug 07, 2008
Folks, I hope history is made and we can move into a new era of scientific understanding.

Of course, you will always have those who say you can not break the sound barrier, that a nuclear bomb whould ionize the Earths atmoshere, Columbus should of stayed in Europe, why teach the blind to read, etc. etc.

The fact of the matter is LHC will move forward and great science will happen and these doubious doubters of anything science will still be perplexed not understanding the great strides mankind can make from this science......

GO CERN !

Glis
4.1 / 5 (9) Aug 07, 2008
It's just the first time they are going to establish a beam, so they probably won't destroy the solar system for at least another year.

That gives me just enough time to start up my cult!
D666
4.4 / 5 (10) Aug 07, 2008
Of course, you will always have those who say you can not break the sound barrier, that a nuclear bomb whould ionize the Earths atmoshere, Columbus should of stayed in Europe, why teach the blind to read, etc. etc.


Trains will cause cows' milk to sour....
Noumenon
3 / 5 (6) Aug 07, 2008
And when is The Big Black scheduled to appear and devour the Earth?

I don't want to miss it!


Yes, they need to let us know, so when can at least flinch. :)
mattytheory
4 / 5 (8) Aug 07, 2008
i cant wait til everything goes fine and the "doomsdayers" all have to find something else to be worried about.
Buzza
2 / 5 (3) Aug 07, 2008
lol.. it takes a very large sun to collapse, with mindblowing levels of gravity in order to form a blackhole - yet people are talking rubish about a stream of particles that have been sped up and then collided... Matter can not be created nor destroyed - it can only change state - yes it can change state with the energy of the impact - but can it generate enough of a change to create a blackhole - no...
Noumenon
3.3 / 5 (3) Aug 07, 2008
Well, it's not really about 'a stream of particles' and that's all,... the energy that goes into accelerating those particles to 99.999% the speed of light contributes as equivalent to mass during the collision, confined to a tiny space it may create a black hole,.. not that they would matter.
Noumenon
4 / 5 (6) Aug 07, 2008
For more informed info see 'micro black hole' at wikipedia.
Zero
2 / 5 (3) Aug 07, 2008
...dudes, 30x luminosity doesn't matter when u have proton-proton beam...u'll be able to see more high energy stuff but not exactly more new phenomenon :) plus 'till they show a production of a Z-boson at LHC, Fermi is still gonna be goin at it. 2.5 femtobarns of data a year = alot of new stuff before LHC gets up to par!
Mercury_01
3.3 / 5 (3) Aug 08, 2008
They diddnt mention the long and extremely boring process of threading that beam around the whole accelerator. Its like come on already and perform the extinction. Jeez, what a yawn...
Zero
5 / 5 (2) Aug 08, 2008
Well, earth is still here even though we get "microscopic black holes" created in the atmosphere much more often than they will ever be created at LHC...so don't hold your breath for a black hole devouring earth any time soon!
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Aug 08, 2008
Well, earth is still here even though we get "microscopic black holes" created in the atmosphere much more often than they will ever be created at LHC...so don't hold your breath for a black hole devouring earth any time soon!


Problem is that the black holes created in the LHC will have close to zero momentum and won't shoot through the earth harmlessly like those created in the atmosphere do. Even so, I SERIOUSLY doubt we're on the edge of doomsday, but to dismiss some of the concerns others have about this project as trivial when even the people building the thing admit they're not 100% sure what's going to happen when they throw the switch is a tad haughty.
Zero
5 / 5 (1) Aug 08, 2008

Problem is that the black holes created in the LHC will have close to zero momentum and won't shoot through the earth harmlessly like those created in the atmosphere do. Even so, I SERIOUSLY doubt we're on the edge of doomsday, but to dismiss some of the concerns others have about this project as trivial when even the people building the thing admit they're not 100% sure what's going to happen when they throw the switch is a tad haughty.


I was talking to some of the guys that are putting LHC together and it seems that "fine tuning" LHC is going to be the hard part, but there is no mystery about what's going to happen apart from unforeseen malfunctions :) oh yea, if you believe tiny black holes are created in the atmosphere or LHC or wherever, then you should also believe that the lifetime of such a black hole prevents it from "zooming through the earth" or doing anything interesting for that matter.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Aug 08, 2008
Assuming Hawking is correct.
googleplex
5 / 5 (1) Aug 08, 2008
hey googleplex, why the anti-american conspiracy theory, and good ol' tub-thumping? the LHC was always going to be delayed, shit happens (especially if you use american magnets, heh heh..) . seriously, the rivalry is no fun unless its friendly. A factor of *only* 7 on energy is a big one, and 30xluminosity is massive - a straight 30x increase in the chance of seeing things above the beam energy - where extra energy is borrowed from heisenberg. - not to mention a 30 x increase in all rare events. ahem, you may be experts at making machines that don't drip oil, but leave the big stuff to the grown-ups, eh??

America is part of the LHC project, it is not just a Euro project. Personally I find nationalism somewhat childish except as a source of humor. I am far more interested in scientific discoveries than in national boundaries. We all live on the same small piece of rock. Too much energy is wasted on squabiling over lines in the sand. In the future national boundaries as we think of them today will disappear anyway.
Zero
1 / 5 (1) Aug 08, 2008
Assuming Hawking is correct.


...right, that the black holes are created in the first place. If we ever see a tiny black hole then Hawking is correct and there is an infinitesimal chance of doomsday, but if we don't(there are other things that would rule tiny black holes out) then this quantum scale cosmology will need a reworking.
Buzza
not rated yet Aug 09, 2008
Well, it's not really about 'a stream of particles' and that's all,... the energy that goes into accelerating those particles to 99.999% the speed of light contributes as equivalent to mass during the collision, confined to a tiny space it may create a black hole,.. not that they would matter.
lol.. it takes a very large sun to collapse, with mindblowing levels of gravity in order to form a blackhole - yet people are talking rubish about a stream of particles that have been sped up and then collided... Matter can not be created nor destroyed - it can only change state - yes it can change state with the energy of the impact - but can it generate enough of a change to create a blackhole - no...
lol.. it takes a very large sun to collapse, with mindblowing levels of gravity in order to form a blackhole - yet people are talking rubish about a stream of particles that have been sped up and then collided... Matter can not be created nor destroyed - it can only change state - yes it can change state with the energy of the impact - but can it generate enough of a change to create a blackhole - no...
Buzza
1 / 5 (1) Aug 09, 2008
the key thing to remember is that everything is relative... Yes they may generate a tiny balckhole - however as stated above many times - these tiny holes pop in and out of existance in our own atmosphere.. It takes the mass of a very large star to concentrate and fall within itself in order to form a blackhole - it is not simply possible to generate these conditions when shooting a beam of atoms together at 99.999% the speed of light.. REMEMBER Photons hit your retina at 100% the speed of light :)
NewDimension
not rated yet Aug 09, 2008
Finally - it took a lot of effort to build this thing and so much time - cool they finally get it to it's purpose and maybe we learn something really new :)
I love it.
Sirussinder
not rated yet Aug 10, 2008
nothing will happen to earth, I am sick of hearing about the wackos. The LHC will do nothing wrong. The scientists who built this thing are gods!!
Noumenon
1 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2008
the key thing to remember is that everything is relative... Yes they may generate a tiny balckhole - however as stated above many times - these tiny holes pop in and out of existance in our own atmosphere.. It takes the mass of a very large star to concentrate and fall within itself in order to form a blackhole - it is not simply possible to generate these conditions when shooting a beam of atoms together at 99.999% the speed of light.. REMEMBER Photons hit your retina at 100% the speed of light :)


I'm not hooked by the black hole mumbo jumbo either,.. but there is a 'slight' difference between a massless photon at the speed of light and say a proton near that speed.

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