The LHC is waking up

By . Published on 25 August 2014 in:
August 2014, News, , , ,

Many theories consider sleeping as a boost in human performance. This is exactly what is happening at the LHC at CERN. After almost 2 years of silent signal, sections of the LHC are reactivated one by one with upgraded performance. The wake-up period will last for the next few months until the 13 TeV physics programme can fully begin in 2015.

Last electrical measurement in the tunnel
Last electrical measurement in the tunnel

Even if no data measurements are currently underway in the LHC, many things have happened during the 18-month shutdown that began in 2013. Indeed, major upgrades have been undertaken, in particular regarding the proton synchrotron and the super proton synchrotron. Incredible efforts have been deployed to upgrade the LHC, including new access points, improved ventilation system for the tunnel, new cables for the instruments, consolidation of magnets, etc.

People working in the CERN Control Centre were witnesses to this activity, and with so many people working on cables, instruments etc., alarms were regularly triggered. During the technical upgrade period, identifying and solving problems required more than 200 phone calls a day.

In June 2014, the proton synchrotron booster was restarted, followed by the proton synchrotron. No holidays for CERN’s staff, as tests were carried out over the summer period. ISOLDE experiment is the first to restart its scientific programme. Physicists will have to wait until winter, to see the beam start again at the LHC. All experiments should be able to run and produce data by spring 2015.

With its new improved features the LHC will be able to reach 13 TeV and therefore open a new bridge to discovery. Of course Higgs bosons will be explored and unsolved questions regarding dark matter are expected to be resolved.

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