Mar. 27th, 2011

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I'm on shift controlling LHC's ATLAS detector! There are about 15 of us, but I'm in charge of the Run Control system that is in overall control, so I say I'm the most important.

I must say that, compared to DELPHI and BaBar, the ATLAS control room looks like a control room should with everyone in serried ranks facing the giant screen wall at the front. Like Mission Control, only with events and trace plots instead of trajectories and delta-Vs. Here's me on the web-cam (first row, second set of desks).

ATLAS Control Room web-cam

Since people have asked: I've done well at not creating a black hole and gobbling up the world. But in fact, my job would be to detect the black hole when the LHC produces one, so I guess I failed at that.

I did start a couple of runs, the last of which lasted for 23 hours (and included some Van der Meer scans - named for the Nobel laureate, who recently died - where we could see the beams being moved back and forth on the beam position monitors).

Unfortunately these are 2.76 TeV collision-energy runs, which we are doing primarily for comparison with December's heavy-ion data, and not of such interest to what I'm doing. Maybe when I'm on shift next week, we'll take some 7 TeV data.

LHC just declared stable beams, and we're off again! Woot!


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