ATLAS Blog

A busy day in the life of high energy physicist

27th June 2016 – My work involves analyzing data to try to understand how nature works at the most fundamental level, by searching for new particles and ways in which they interact. Specifically, I am looking at the top quark, which is the heaviest fundamental particle known to exist, with a mass of about 180 times that of a proton.

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An insider view of the "marten affair"

7th June 2016 – Friday morning, 29 April 2016: what was expected to be a productive shift turned out to be very different.

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Spring celebrations in Pisa as the LHC restarts

31st May 2016PP@LHC is an Italian conference with important contributions by foreign institutes, focused on the proton-proton physics performed at the LHC by the ATLAS, CMS and LHCb experiments. The aim of this year’s edition was not only to give an overview on the current status of LHC research, but to focus on future challenges with the upcoming new data.

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One does not simply give a talk at Moriond

5th April 2016 – The third day of the Moriond QCD conference was dedicated to quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory that describes strong interactions itself. 

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Bumps in the light

4th April 2016 – Here we are at the second blog from the Moriond QCD conference and, as promised, I will discuss a bit of physics.

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First impressions from the Moriond conference

24th March 2016 – My name is Mario Campanelli, and I am a physicist who has been working for about 9 years on the ATLAS experiment, as part of the academic staff of University College London. This is the first time I write a blog, but I do have quite an experience in communicating science to the public, having guided visitors around CERN since I started working there as a PhD student 20 years ago, and also having written two books for the general public. Since Saturday I have been in La Thuile, a mountain resort in the Italian Alps, for the Rencontres de Moriond - arguably the most important winter conference in particle physics.

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One week to do it all – Days 4-7: Diffractive data taking

19th February 2016 – On Thursday morning the first fill reached “Stable Beam”. We had prepared a sequence to move the ALFA detectors so, with the push of a bottom, they were all moved to exactly the right position for loss maps. The fill had 42 bunches (as opposed to the 3 bunches used in elastic data taking), so the trigger rates were much higher than before.

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One week to do it all – Day 3: Preparing for Stable Beam

18th February 2016 – Tuesday at 23:55 I called the ATLAS shift leader and told them to stop the elastic physics run and ramp down the inner detector as the elastic program was over. But that’s when the problems started. For some reason, the inner detector could not ramp down and ATLAS requested – for the safety of the inner detector – that the LHC team touch nothing until the problem was solved. While this actually gave us more time taking data for elastic physics, LHC operators and representatives from the other experiments in the CERN Control Centre were really not too happy about the situation.

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One week to do it all – Day 2: Elastic data-taking

17th February 2016 – No time to waste after the alignment. We had moved the detectors to about 2.8 mm from the beam, but the rates of particles passing the detectors indicated a very high background (mainly particles from the beam halo) so we decided to move the detectors out to about 3.5 mm. Now it was time for data taking. Since the detectors were so close to the beam, the LHC could not declare “Stable Beam”. Therefore ATLAS was prepared to manually override the normal safety feature, which only allows the tracking detectors to be powered fully once the LHC declares “Stable Beam”.

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One week to do it all – Day 1: Setting up

16th February 2016 – I have the pleasure to work for a very special sub-detector of ATLAS, called “Absolute luminosity For ATLAS” or ALFA in short. ALFA aims to measure protons at very small angles relative to the beam. To measure these small angles, ALFA is installed on the beam pipe about 240 m away from the interaction point (IP) of ATLAS. The ALFA detectors can move inside the beam pipe in order to get very close to the beam. The detector is only used a few days out of the year when LHC is running with a very special beam setup.

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