Higher Energy Physics at the LHC

I’ve been busy with meetings most of the day but couldn’t resist a quick post to catch up on the exciting events at CERN. Today is the day that the Large Hadron Collider was due to start operating at its highest collision energies so far, 13 TeV. It was quite a nervous morning, and the first attempt to ramp up to this energy failed.

Here was the scene this morning in the control room of the ATLAS experiment.

Control Room

This kind of photograph always reminds me of the inside of a betting shop..

However, it didn’t take long to succeed, at which point much celebration ensued. This story has a strong local connection here in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sussex. The run coordinator for the ATLAS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider is Dr Alessandro Cerri of Sussex  and he has figured prominently in today’s action. Here he is, having a glass of bubbly (purely medicinal, I’m assured) when they first achieved stable beams at the new collision scale:


He also produced this nice quote which I took from the ATLAS Twitter feed.


It is hoped that operating at 13 TeV will allow the various detectors on the Large Hadron Collider to probe the possible existence of supersysmmetric particles which have so far defied detection. On the other hand if it doesn’t find them it will cause a lot of theorists to go back to the drawing board. Incidentally I’ve been going around asking particle physicists how much they’d be willing to bet on the LHC finding evidence of supersymmetry and I can’t get any of them to make a wager with me. Any one willing to rise to the challenge please do so via the Comments Box.

Of course we all know that the main reason for increasing the LHC’s energy is not to detect supersymmetric particles, or indeed any other evidence of physics beyond the standard model that had previous been accessible. It’s to generate papers with even longer author lists

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