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On Shift Again… May 28, 2006

Posted by gordonwatts in physics.
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I’ve not been on shift in a long time. I’ve got two day shifts, today (Sunday) and tomorrow (Monday – Memorial day). We are still in the shutdown I mentioned earlier – but we are very close to the end. If all goes well we should have first beam again by the end of the week: it will be nice to see DZERO taking data again after 14 or so weeks!

But, as usual, things are in a bit of a panic – lots of confusion as everyone closes up the individual components and starts integrating them back into the whole detector readout. You can see this on the DZERO e-log, or electronic logbook. This is a shared log book used by everyone working on the detector. Since my blog doesn’t have that large a readership I can post a link to our online log book (that is the most recent 2 hours of work; if you hit it in the am Chicago time there won’t be much there). In the old days this was a series of notebooks: each one in turn would sit open on the desk and everyone would write in it, or paste in printouts. It was great to hold it in your hand: very easy to read the last month of entries. We used to have stacks of them (I went looking for them so I could take a picture, but couldn’t find ‘em).

Why keep a log notebook? First, this detector is amazingly complex; being able to go back to see what was done recently when something breaks is important: often someone else’s system change cause yours to change. The logbook is often the first stop in that diagnostic route. The electronic version allows remote people to participate in a way that wasn’t possible before. And, finally, when we find the Higgs (or whatever ) we are sure to want to look at the log book to see if we can figure out if there was something funny going on in the control room at the time!

But I have to say: I miss being able to write on plots, etc. – this electronic log is web submission and a special computer client. There is pretty much no way to get handwriting into it. Oh well!

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