The Tevatron: Goodnight but not goodbye

3rd October 2011 – The Tevatron collider, the scientific predecessor of the LHC, was shut down last Friday after 26 years of operations. Situated at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) outside of Chicago, Illinois, the Tevatron collided protons with antiprotons at a center-of-mass energy just shy of 2 TeV. While it still held the title of the world’s highest energy colliding beams, it was the intellectual home of hundreds of scientists and students working as part of the CDF and D0 collaborations.

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“La Nuit des Chercheurs” (Researchers’ Night)

28th September 2011 – Evening, Friday September 23rd. I came from Saclay (near Paris) to participate in the ‘Researchers’ Night’ event taking place across CERN as part of the European Researchers’ Night initiative. Students aged 13 to 18 were on their way from all around the local area to learn about what on earth it is we do at the mysterious “Point 1” – ATLAS’s home on the LHC ring. Three different groups of 10 or so students were to stay with the ATLAS team in the experiment’s control room from 6:00 p.m. until midnight, helping shifters to take data and monitor the experiment…

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Moonlighting as a Physicist

24th September 2011 – There was a lively buzz about the ATLAS Control Room last Friday night, September 23rd, as local high school students descended to get a closer look at just exactly what goes on at the front line of particle physics.

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ATLAS never sleeps

21st September 2011 – Working in an international laboratory like CERN is incredibly exciting, and I’m not just talking about Higgs hunting. People in the outside world are endlessly curious about what happens on the sprawling two-kilometre-long site, and I get asked all kinds of questions, ranging from the funny to the profound.

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Re-hashing reconstruction

10th September 2011 – Now that the big summer conferences are under our belts, we’re busy reprocessing the data ATLAS has taken so far in 2011. The raw data we collect at ATLAS – basically millions of electrical signal values from the different bits of the detector – has to be treated (‘reconstructed’) to turn it into meaningful physics data that can be analyzed for signs of new physics.

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Ars Atlastronica

6th September 2011 – So I’m back from the Ars Electronica 2011 festival in Linz, Austria. This year the guest of honor was CERN, to kickstart a cultural partnership which will endure over the next three years. The event was amazing, and the organization spotless. As Claudia mentioned in a previous post, CERN was well represented visually at the festival, mainly via a strong display of ATLAS multimedia throughout the many exhibit halls and events.

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Science and art collide at Ars Electronica

3rd September 2011 – Located in Linz, Austria, Ars Electronica is an exhibition centre and creative lab which “has been investigating the consequences of the Digital Revolution” since the late 1970’s. Ars Electronica holds a yearly festival that attracts thousands of people from Austria, Germany and the rest of the world. This year, the theme of the festival, which is happening in collaboration with CERN, is ‘Origin – how it all begins’.

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Philosophising physics

2nd September 2011 – Last Monday (August 22), within a tight 35-minute allocation, ATLAS’s Henri Bachacou presented the entirety of the results from ‘Beyond the Standard Model’ searches for BOTH the ATLAS and CMS experiments, to the Lepton Photon conference in Mumbai, India. This included results of studies on Supersymmetry, strong gravity, heavy resonances and long-lived particles, and was a staggering amount of information to convey in an extremely limited amount of time. Henri did a great job, firing through slides, and guiding the audience through the most up-to-date results from the wide range of exotic topics. He did have one thing on his side, however… from each search, from each physics topic and from each experiment, the results came back the same: Has the LHC seen anything beyond the standard model yet?  Nope.

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Higgs results from Lepton Photon

26th August 2011 – The Lepton Photon 2011 conference began on Monday in Mumbai, India. Over 400 physicists from all over the world (including me!) gathered to hear the latest results. One result in particular -- news on the search for the Higgs boson -- was foremost in people's minds, and rather than prolong the suspense further, the talks on the Higgs were scheduled right after the welcoming speeches.

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ATLAS advances in the search for the Higgs and New Physics

22nd August 2011 – The ATLAS experiment has continued to record data and to refine the analyses in the search for the Higgs boson and many other exciting signatures of new physics. The latest results are being presented at the Lepton Photon 2011 symposium in Mumbai, India, 22-27 August 2011. Since the previous meeting (the European Physical Society — EPS, Grenoble, France, 21-27 July 2011), the LHC has almost doubled the data provided to ATLAS.

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