Of Particular Significance

Up Another Notch at LHC

POSTED BY Matt Strassler

POSTED BY Matt Strassler

ON 04/21/2012

A few days back I told you things were going very well so far in 2012 at the Large Hadron Collider [LHC] — that not only had the increase in energy (from last year’s 7 TeV of energy per proton-proton collision up to 8 TeV) gone well but the collision rate (the number of collisions per second) had already been brought back up to last year’s level.  And I pointed out that the current collision rate had been achieved using fewer bunches of protons than last year, which meant it could eventually be increased further, by putting more bunches in.  But I didn’t know when they’d take that step — in particular, whether it would be anytime soon.

The proton beams at the LHC aren’t continuous; as of now, they consist of over a thousand bunches, each containing something like 100,000,000,000 protons.  Two bunches are arranged to hit head on every 50 billionths of a second, and in each bunch crossing occur 10 to 40 virtually simultaneous proton-proton collisions.

Well, they did it the next day!  Since Wednesday the number of bunches per beam has been about 1380, same as late last year, and the collision rate jumped up by over 25%, just like that!  In fact they brought it even a bit higher (not sure exactly how)  to within 15 – 20% of this year’s final target.  And they’ve had some long runs, as long as nearly 10 hours, showing the accelerator remains very stable.

Three cheers for the accelerator physicists!  Now the experimentalists just have to assure they can extract quality data from a firehose.

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5 Responses

  1. Hi Matt,
    I would like to encourage you to add a “recent comments” bar to your blog, in the same way that you have a “recent posts” one. A lot of the appeal of this blog is your interaction with commenters, so I think it would be worthwhile. By the way, thanks for all your efforts here!

  2. The world’s largest, most complex machine is performing like a champ, testing Wesley Crusher theory with empirical observation.
    The MSSM has 120 new parameters and zero observables in support. The remarkable absences of MSSM/SUSY partners and a resolved Higgs plus anomalous neutrino-antineutrino reaction channels (see-saw? haw haw!) portend wry toast for 21 December 2012.

    Euclid and Newton were rigorous in derivation but defective in postulation. Predictions in both cases are selectively wrong. Empirical irrelevance of 40 years of physical theory suggest
    what was obviously true then will be obviously defective in seven months. This is testably correctable. Exciting times!

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