Last modified: Wednesday, September 10, 2008
IU physicists celebrate as a new research era begins
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 10, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The largest and most complex particle accelerator ever built, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, began operation this morning (Sept. 10) by shooting its first proton beam.
"This is the beginning of a very exciting physics research period and the celebration of the end of the long construction and assembly period," said physicist Harold Ogren, who oversaw IU Bloomington's participation in the project.
IU Bloomington's contingent of LHC faculty, staff and students will celebrate more than 10 years of hard work with a colloquium, "The LHC Turns On." The event will start at 4 p.m. today (Sept. 10) in Swain Hall West, room 119. It will be hosted by Ogren, who has been involved with the LHC for more than ten years.
Ogren, along with a number of other IU Bloomington physicists and colleagues from other collaborating universities, have been working on the ATLAS detector, a device integrated into the LHC that will collect data when the first proton beams collide later this year.
"The LHC will be the best chance in my lifetime to discover why particles have mass, and perhaps what most of the extra 'dark' matter is in our universe," Ogren said.
ATLAS is about 45 meters long and weighs about 7,000 tons. It is part of the LHC, a circular particle accelerator that measures 27 kilometers in circumference. Built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, the tunnel is located 50 to 175 meters underground, spanning the Swiss and French borders on the outer edge of Geneva.
It will be the world's most powerful particle accelerator when it reaches peak performance and will produce beams seven times more energetic and 30 times more intense than any previous machine.
The purpose of ATLAS is to look at the new particles that will be created when two subatomic particles, known as hadrons, collide at very high speeds inside the LHC. No one knows exactly what will happen after the collision, but it is certain that this experiment will lead to a new understanding of our universe.