Behind the scenes at ATLAS Week
6 November 2017 | By
A few times a year, the large LHC collaborations such as ATLAS organise an internal overview session. This photo essay will take you to the most recent of these “ATLAS Weeks” – giving you a glimpse behind the curtain, and exploring this essential part of the collaboration structure and life.
Although most ATLAS Weeks take place at CERN, experience has shown that bringing members of the collaboration to a different place helps with networking and brainstorming. Last month, the third 2017 ATLAS Week took place in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The ATLAS collaboration is organised along numerous working groups (with overlapping membership), each concentrating on specific tasks including: detector operation, online data selection and processing, data monitoring, calibration and reconstruction, worldwide data distribution and further processing, physics analysis, and the upgrade of the detector to the next stages of the experiment. All these tasks are linked, and their results, including any concerns, are reported in dedicated ATLAS Week sessions.
Universities in Bratislava and Kosice are among the founding members of the ATLAS collaboration. ATLAS Bratislava group leader, Stanislav Tokar – shown here at the collaboration dinner party, stressed that such off-site meetings are a unique opportunity to strengthen links between the organising institutes and the collaboration, as well as to emphasise the importance of physics at the energy frontier to the host country.
Early career participants are invited to present posters on their research work, often leading to lively discussions. Prior to publication, each ATLAS result goes through a rigorous review process involving the entire collaboration. Every issue raised during that process must be resolved.
ATLAS weeks are also an opportunity to review the experiment’s future technical needs and upgrade plans. Computing resources – explored in the poster pictured here – are a key issue for the LHC upgrade, as the number of proton collisions per beam crossing is set to increase dramatically. Thanks to the distributed computing architecture of the worldwide LHC computing grid, each member country contributes to the data processing and analysis.
The ATLAS collaboration is currently made up of 183 institutions in 39 countries. Each institute sends at least one representative to the ATLAS Week who participates in the decision making via a vote at the Collaboration Board.
The ATLAS Week in Bratislava had an exceptional theme: ATLAS’ 25th anniversary (the experiment’s Letter of Intent was published in October 1992). A special birthday event was held at Comenius University in Bratislava, and webcast to current and former members of the collaboration. During the event, ATLAS pioneers presented stories of the creation of ATLAS, and shared some of their experience and advise.
ATLAS25 event speakers (shown here) discussed how ATLAS is seen from across the collaboration. The speakers shared anecdotes from their life in ATLAS, including stories from Point 1 (home of the ATLAS detector), upgrade projects and technical coordination.
And, of course, the cake! ATLAS25 event attendees enjoyed a special themed birthday cake. This was one of several cakes made in honour of the collaboration’s birthday – see also the ATLAS/CMS cake created by ATLAS physicist Katharine Leney and the ATLAS plot cake made by ATLAS members of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK.
A large ATLAS birthday card was coloured and signed by ATLAS Week attendees. Cards continue to be signed across the whole collaboration, until the 15 December symposium on “25 years of LHC experimental programme”, which will mark the closure of this eventful period.
ATLAS Spokesperson Karl Jakobs opened the ATLAS25 event, saying: “25 years, how does that feel? For an experiment that is really a long time. We have worked on the ATLAS experiment for 25 years and it is not the end of it, we still have to go for about 20 more years. It is very nice to see, tonight, the collaboration as it stands today. As you know we have many young people in this collaboration. They carry a lot of the work and some of them were not even born when some of us were writing down the first concepts of this experiment.”