Inspired by Regina Caputo’s excellent post on the CERN accelerator complex, I thought I should give you some fun facts about the LHC (in “human units”).
The LHC is designed to collide bunches of protons every 25 ns, i.e., at a 40 MHz rate (40 million/second). In each of these collisions, something happens. Since there is no way we can collect data at this rate, we try to pick only the interesting events, which occur very infrequently; however, this is easier said than done. Experiments like ATLAS employ a very sophisticated filtering system to keep only those events that we are interested in. This is called the trigger system, and it works because the interesting events have unique signatures that can be used to distinguish them from the uninteresting ones.
This is continuing from the previous post, where I discussed how we convert data collected by ATLAS into usable objects. Here I explain the steps to get a Physics result. I can now use our data sample to prove/disprove the predictions of Supersymmetry (SUSY), string theory or what have you. What steps do I follow?
OK, so I’ll try to give a flavour of how the data that we collect gets turned into a published result. As the title indicates, it takes a while! The post got very long, so I have split it in two parts. The first will talk about reconstructing data, and the second will explain the analysis stage.