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Accelerators and Nature January 17, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in physics, physics life.

It was said that the LEP beam energy would change noticeably when the moon went overhead (think of tidal waves). I read the following in the accelerator report of its status this afternoon:

Evening Shift Friday: Store 5175 collided all shift. An increase in losses was observed and was attributed to an earthquake of magnitude 8.2 off the coast of the Kurii Islands, near Japan.

Wow. 😉 Someone must have had fun writing that. Can you imagine — that is what, 10,000 miles away or so? And it still shook the ground enough in Chicago to cause a noticeable number of protons to fall out of the accelerator!



1. Aaron F. - January 17, 2007

Daaaaaamn! Do you have a way to monitor the beam energy in real-time, or do you just have to hope that the moon is out of the way and no cement trucks are driving by when you’re taking data? 😛

2. gordonwatts - January 17, 2007

According to this — yes — they did have to account for it:


3. francescopadormo - January 17, 2007

This has got me thinking! Accelerators must be highly calibrated wonders of engineering, something which must have taken a long time to do. When earthquakes go off, even small local ones, do you have to realign the whole machine?? I’ve only just started my Nuclear and Particle Physics course and haven’t hit accelerator science yet.

I’m guessing you guys have found a way around this, but I can’t think how! Put the whole thing on springs?!

Btw, I’m Fran, a new guy to the whole blogging thing. Please check out my site!

4. gordonwatts - January 17, 2007

francescopadormo — they use magnets. The beams are steered around the ring using magnets and they adjust the currents to account for any _small_ movement in the beam. It can be a pain. In LEP’s case I’m sure they didn’t do anything other than record the fact that the ring size had changed by a milimeter…

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