Archive for ATLAS Experiment

Hic Sunt Leones

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on November 15, 2017 by telescoper

Just time for a very quick post, as today I travelled to Brighton to attend an inaugural lecture by Professor Antonella De Santo at the University of Sussex.

Antonella was the first female Professor of Physics at the University of Sussex and I’m glad to say she was promoted to a Chair during my watch as Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, at Sussex. That was about four years ago, so it has taken a while to arrange her inaugural lecture, but it was worth the wait to be able to celebrate Antonella’s many achievements.

The lecture was about the search for physics beyond the standard model using the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, with a focus on supersymmetry and possibly candidates for dark matter. It was a very nice lecture that told a complex story through pictures and avoiding any difficult mathematics, followed by a drinks reception during which I got to have a gossip with some former colleagues.

The title, by the way, stems from the practice among mediaeval cartographers of marking terra incognita with `Here be lions’ or `Here be dragons‘. I hasten to add that no lions were harmed during the talk.

Anyway, it was nice to have an excuse to visit Brighton again. The last time I was here was over a year ago. It was nice to see some familiar faces, especially in the inestimable Miss Lemon, with whom I enjoyed a very nice curry after the talk!

Now for a sleep and the long journey back to Cardiff tomorrow morning!

Higher Energy Physics at the LHC

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on June 3, 2015 by telescoper

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