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End Of Year Gift From the Tevatron December 31, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in D0, Fermilab, science.

About a week ago or so the Tevatron developed a vacuum leak. The accelerator can’t run under conditions like that: the protons whizzing around billions and billions of times a second would collide with the air or Helium that had leaked in and would go crashing out of the accelerator. It wouldn’t take long before all the protons and anti-protons were lost and there would be no collisions.

So, there is only one thing to do — shut down and fix it. Unfortunately, because of the leak’s location, they had to warm up a superconducting magnet. A controlled warming (and the required cool-down) take about 4 days. Then you have to fix the leak — so at least a week with no beam.

As a side note – I think the timing was rather interesting. Clearly, the Tevatron was complaining about the budget situation in Washington DC. 🙂

At any rate, no one expected beam until tomorrow. This has been great: I’ve not had to do my owl shifts since I got here! But yesterday it started to look like they might make it. In the electronic logbook things like “lets get a store in this year!” started to appear everywhere. As a result, I was on shift from midnight until 8am last night, just in case. And they were busy. And even worse – they were calling all sorts of experts when they had problems – so a lot of people got woken up.

And lo – I just read they did it! That was a lot of work! But it is exactly the right way for an accelerator to end the year: making physics!

Happy New Year!



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