LHC Watch

Now that the Large Hadron Collider is doing physics runs you may wish to try to follow how the experiment is going. It may be some time before results are published and any new physics will be kept secret within the experiment collaborations until it has been very carefully checked and signed off. In the meantime we outsiders can still watch how they are progressing with the job of colliding the beams and increasing the intensity to get better results.

There are a few good links you can use to see how it is coming along. The best known is the status screen called Page 1. The exact contents change depending on what they are doing, but there is always a status message and an indication of beam intensity and energy.  When all is well and the beams are stable all the lights go green. That is how it looks now as I write this. They also feed the status messages to twitter so you can look back on what has been happening. 

A related page is the operation screen that shows a longer historical graph of the energy and the status of each of the experiments. As I look at it now I can see that all the experiments are running except ALICE. The graph shows that the two beams were injected about three hours ago in two bunches for each beam. The energy was ramped up starting an hour later.

After the webcast last week they left us another status display that has a graphic display showing how the beams circulate in the collider ring and how the experiments are placed. If you click on the experiments it takes you to a real-time plot of the rate at which events are currently being seen.

Of course it is brilliant to be able to see live displays of events from the experiments themselves. One experiment that is making this possible from outside is LHCb . You may need to fiddle with your browser to get this page working due to the use of an unrecognised certificate, but it does work. Check the timestamp at the bottom left to confirm whether or not it is currently showing live events.

There is now also a live event display for ATLAS. if you spot a Higgs boson here publish your result immediately along with your calculation for its mass, then claim your Nobel Prize before they do 🙂 If you want more details you can download the Atlantis/Minerva application.

There are a lot more links and discussion forums to be found at the LHCPortal if you want to delve in any deeper, and of course anything new that comes along after I write this is likely to be found there.

Finally if you want the latest news about what has been going on you should check the official press releases and unofficial blogs listed on the right of this page.

2 Responses to LHC Watch

  1. Joe Scheirich says:

    How can you tell from the operation screen how many bunches per beam were injected?

  2. Phil Gibbs says:

    For now they inject them one bunch at a time so you can count the steps in the intensity plot.

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