Dave Robinson

Dr Dave Robinson is a Senior Research Physicist at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University, and at CERN. Since March 2013 he has been the Project Leader of the ATLAS Semiconductor Tracker, and Project Leader of the ATLAS Inner Detector. Among other things, he has worked on triggering, data acquisition and silicon detector design and development for the UA1, OPAL and ATLAS experiments at CERN.

Notes from Underground: Servicing Silicon

We physicists refer to the vast underground cavern that houses the ATLAS experiment as ‘the pit’. That may be a strange term to use for a marvel of civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, but nonetheless there are parallels to what you might imagine a ‘pit’ to be. Working inside the ATLAS detector in the pit can be dark, sometimes hot and not suited to those with claustrophobia. It often involves climbing several sets of makeshift steps and gantries and crawling flat on your stomach through narrow gaps to get to the part of the detector where you need to be. You will be wearing a safety helmet with mounted lamp, steel toe-cap shoes, one or more dosimeters to monitor radiation exposure and even a harness, if working at heights. Not to mention tools, laptop and any equipment you need to do your job. You tend to recognize the experimental physicists, engineers and technicians who have just come up from the pit – they stand blinking in the sunlight with a tired and rather sweaty appearance.

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