1st April 2008 – The anticipation on site in Switzerland is tangible as the final steps in the construction of the ATLAS detector get underway, ahead of the LHC switch-on later this year. But whilst all the hard work is going on down in the pit, a small team of people are toiling equally hard to bring that sense of excitement and wonder out into the wider world, and throw open a window onto what will be the biggest experiment in the history of human kind.
29th February 2008 – Celebrations are underway in the ATLAS Experiment, as the final element of the detector was lowered into the cavern on Friday February 29th, 2008. The second “small wheel” is also the final part of the muon subsystem, but the wheels themselves are small in name only. At 9.3 metres in diameter, and weighing in at 100 tons each, moving them from their construction warehouse, at the north-west tip of the CERN site in Geneva, to the underground ATLAS cavern was a challenge which was anything but small.
15th February 2008 – It could be a scene from a James Bond movie. But this action shot of two intrepid rappellers (abseilers) was in fact taken in the ATLAS experimental cavern one night in December. François Butin, the ATLAS experimental area manager, tells the story behind the photograph.
15th January 2008 – The cables within the ATLAS detector may be thought of as the blood vessels and nervous system of the experiment; they carry power to the detector, they deliver messages to control its functions and they relay the data taken, ready for analysis. Just as blood vessels and nerves criss–cross and connect the organs and tissues of the human body, cables penetrate the whole of the ATLAS volume, reaching each and every one of its elements.
15th December 2007 – Dave Charlton and his team have a mammoth job on their hands; Charlton has been tasked with coordinating the Full Dress Rehearsal (FDR) of the computing and data analysis processes of the ATLAS experiment, a run–through which he describes as "essential, almost as much as ensuring the detector itself actually works".
11th December 2007 – "It's amazing that you have to build something so huge to measure such extremely small things," said Tom Christiansen from Telemark in Norway, after visiting the ATLAS cavern. His sentiment about the size of the ATLAS detector was shared by the thirty–one other physics teachers who, together with Tom, attended the first Norwegian Teacher Programme run at CERN, in November 2007.
10th December 2007 – The magnets on either end of the ATLAS detector (called end–cap toroid magnets) dominated November’s work in the experimental cavern. The ATLAS magnet team took a significant step towards finishing work on the ATLAS detector as testing of the magnets began.
14th June 2007 – On 14 June, 2007, ESA/NASA astronaut Christer Fuglesang visited the ATLAS cavern. A former CERN fellow working on ATLAS, Christer went on to become the first Swedish astronaut and participated in the STS-116 Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station last December.