LHC is Turning on FAST September 19, 2008Posted by gordonwatts in Fermilab, LHC.
During Frank’s talk he said that he was a bit "depressed that it took 25 years to build machine, but just a few weeks to commission" – implying it wasn’t enough of a challenge.
I am, frankly, amazed at how fast this thing has turned on. None of my previous experience had prepared me for how fast they have turned on. The engineering job is incredible. Here they turned on 10 September and they are talking about first collisions (at 900 GeV — really small compared to the planned 14 TeV final operation) this coming weekend!
Given the number of moving parts, electronics, etc., in this machine… well, this is a breath-taking to have gotten this far. As a long-time member of the US community I’m also feeling a bit embarrassed. Our last start up – Fermilab Run 2 – was not nearly as smooth. One key difference between the LHC and Fermilab’s startup, btw, is that all the bits are present in the accelerator from the get-go. Fermilab has continuously been adding bits to the accelerator to improve it (many bits were delayed due to the funding profile).
If we in the USA get a chance to build another accelerator we are going to have to make sure we step up and match (or come close to matching) CERN’s accelerator division!
UPDATE: Yeah Yeah. I know. 2 months of downtime now. 🙂 What can I say? The accident was probably caused by me posting this. I don’t know if you saw the CERN press release – but note how it said that in a non-super conducting machine this fix would take a few days? The 2 months is because they have to warm the machine up and then cool it down again. What is a magnet replacement at Fermilab? 8 days? I wonder what the difference is in the cryo systems?