February 2010 – News Archive

February 28, 2010
Atom smasher restarts to prepare for new science – Associated Press

Operators of the world’s largest atom smasher restarted their massive machine Sunday in a run up to experiments probing secrets of the universe, a spokeswoman said.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, sent low energy beams of protons in both directions around the 27-kilometer (17-mile) tunnel housing the Large Hadron Collider under the Swiss-French border at Geneva, said Christine Sutton. Read more.

February 19, 2010
Lecture Series materials available from US LHC office

For more information or to host a lecture at your institution, contact Katie Yurkewicz and refer to the US LHC site.

February 18, 2010
Detector and Instrumentation School for Young Physicists

The Instrumentation Panel of the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) recognizes that the scale, the complexity, and the timeframe of modern experiments provides very scarce opportunities for people, in the early stages of their scientific careers, to acquire in depth understanding of the various types of detectors and instrumentation used in the experiments.

This lack of practical experience may have a negative impact on our field, especially in the context of: interpreting the response of the actual detectors in complex data analysis, designing the upgrades of today experiments and in the conceptual design of the future ones.

To remedy this situation, the ICFA Instrumentation Panel is considering the organization of a school devoted to in depth studies of the various aspects of detectors and instrumentation in HEP; the school would be augmented by extensive hands-on laboratory courses.

We would like to know your opinion and acquire information about the perceived needs for such an educational program via a questionnaire. The outcome of survey the will be used to optimize the organization, the format and the scientific content of the school in order to maximize the benefits for young researches.

Thank you to invest some of your time to complete this survey and support our effort!

The ICFA Panel for Instrumentation

The survey is located at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/76WFWJ5

February 15, 2010
The President’s budget – with map of the states


February 12, 2010
First physics from the Large Hadron Collider’s CMS detector at CERN

Scientists from the LHC’s CMS experiment at CERN have just published results of the first analysis of data from the highest energy particle collisions ever carried out, bringing us another step closer to answering some of the most fundamental questions about our Universe. The results were published on 8th February in the Journal of High Energy Physics (JHEP).

“Our findings provide the first information on the characteristics of charged particle production at higher energies than ever before created in the laboratory”, says Prof. Guido Tonelli, Spokesperson of the CMS experiment. “The results confirm previous measurements and support expectations for the new energy regime. They are important to help us model the experimental backgrounds for future measurements at even higher energies”.

The LHC provided first collisions on 23rd November 2009, after about 20 years of extremely challenging design and construction work for both the accelerator and the experiments. About three weeks later, protons were accelerated for the first time in the LHC to an energy of 1.18 TeV per beam, the highest energy yet attained in accelerators. Around one hundred thousand collisions were recorded by the four LHC experiments at this energy.

CMS is one of two so-called general-purpose experiments at the LHC, which look into the unknown and search for new physics. It is designed to see a wide range of particles and phenomena produced in the LHC’s high-energy collisions and will help to answer questions such as: What is the Universe really made of and what forces act within it? And what gives everything substance? It will also measure the properties of previously discovered particles with unprecedented precision, and be on the lookout for completely new, unpredicted phenomena. Such research not only increases our understanding but may eventually spark new technologies that change the world we live in.

UK institutes involved in CMS (Bristol University, Brunel University, Imperial College and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory) have played major roles in the design and construction of the experiment and Prof T. Virdee of Imperial College was also the CMS spokesperson for several years leading up to first operation.

Following the 2009 run there was a technical stop to prepare the LHC for accelerating protons to an energy of 3.5 TeV per beam. Beams will soon start circulating again and a long run, lasting some eighteen months, will begin at the end of February. This should enable the LHC experiments to accumulate enough data to explore new territory in all areas where new physics is expected.

The paper can be found at http://arxiv.org/abs/1002.0621

For further information






February 11, 2010
APS FIP Informal Session Sunday 14 Feb on Physics in Developing Countries

The informal meeting of all who are interested in physics in
developing countries is scheduled for Sunday, 3:30-5:45, in the
Coolidge room of the meeting hotel, the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
The Hotel has listed the meeting as the “Forum on International Physics

February 5, 2010
Collider to Operate Again, Though at Half Power – NYTimes.com

February 4, 2010
AAAS Policy Alert -Budget News

President Obama released his proposed budget for FY 2011 on February 1. In his State of the Union address on January 27, the President announced a three-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending, and indeed such spending in the FY 2011 budget request was held below FY 2010 levels at $441 billion, $5 billion less (1.1%) than last year. The proposed budget includes a deficit of $1.3 trillion, down from $1.6 trillion in FY 2010. The deficit is projected to decrease to $706 billion in FY 2014 before starting to climb again due primarily to mandatory spending increases, mainly for Medicare and Social Security.

The proposed budget’s overall support for R&D totals $147.7 billion, essentially flat (up 0.2%) compared to FY 2010. In terms of constant FY 2010 dollars, support for R&D would continue the slide (a 1.7% decrease) from a small peak in FY 2009, and would represent essentially flat funding (a 0.4% increase) since FY 2004 — not including, of course, the over $18 billion in one-time R&D funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), money which was appropriated in FY 2009 and can be spent through FY 2010. Despite the flat funding, there were significant shifts of funds within the federal R&D portfolio. Defense R&D would face a cut of $3.3 billion (3.9%) to $81.7 billion, while non-defense R&D would rise by $3.7 billion (5.9%) to $66.0 billion.

Many of the funding shifts echoed priorities announced by the President in his State of the Union Address, including the “need to encourage American innovation” through investments in basic research. The National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories all received proposed budget increases to keep these basic research agencies on their doubling tracks through 2017. Support for NSF’s R&D in FY 2011 would grow to $5.6 billion (a 9.4% increase) within a total agency budget of $7.4 billion (an 8.0% increase). Among NSF’s top priorities are workforce development, next-generation information and communications technology, and innovation-based entrepreneurship. R&D in DOE’s Office of Science (OS) would increase to $4.6 billion (up 3.8%) in FY 2011 within a total OS budget of $5.1 billion (4.6% increase); and NIST labs would receive $706 million (a 21.7% increase) for R&D in a total NIST budget of $919 million (a 7.3% increase).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would continue a trend of modest but steady increases to its annual budgets (apart from the one-time $10 billion stimulus allocation), with a $1.0 billion increase (3.2%) to $32.1 billion overall. NIH’s R&D support would increase by $956 million (3.1%) to $31.4 billion. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) total budget would receive a slight increase of 1.5% to $19.0 billion, but the agency would undergo some significant shifts in emphasis. The Constellation program, which is developing updated technology for manned space flight to the moon by 2020, would be cancelled. Its funding would be redirected to new programs including technology demonstration ($652 million), heavy lift and propulsion R&D ($559 million), and robotic precursor missions ($125 million). The budget for the International Space Station would increase by $463 million to $2.8 billion (20.0%). These shifts in funding result in a proposed R&D investment of $11.0 billion for FY 2011, an 18.3% increase. They are expected to elicit intense scrutiny and no small amount of opposition from some members of Congress.

A brief AAAS news item provides additional R&D budget details. The AAAS preliminary analysis of R&D in the FY 2011 budget will be available shortly on the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program Website.

February 4, 2010
AIP FYI #16: FY2011 National Science Foundation Request

The Obama Administration has requested an 8.0 percent increase for the National Science Foundation in FY 2011.

Read entire bulletin here.

February 3, 2010
AIP FYI #15: FY2011 DOE Office of Science Request

The Department of Energy has requested a 6.8 percent increase in its total budget for FY 2011. Within this request, funding would increase by 4.4 percent for the Office of Science.

Read entire bulletin here.

February 3, 2010
Better in the long run — Outcome of Chamonix

Last week, the Chamonix workshop once again proved its worth as a place where all the stakeholders in the LHC can come together, take difficult decisions and reach a consensus on important issues for the future of particle physics. The most important decision we reached last week is to run the LHC for 18 to 24 months at a collision energy of 7 TeV (3.5 TeV per beam). After that, we’ll go into a long shutdown in which we’ll do all the necessary work to allow us to reach the LHC’s design collision energy of 14 TeV for the next run. This means that when beams go back into the LHC later this month, we’ll be entering the longest phase of accelerator operation in CERN’s history, scheduled to take us into summer or autumn 2011.

What led us to this conclusion? Firstly, the LHC is unlike any previous CERN machine. Because it is a cryogenic facility, each run is accompanied by lengthy cool-down and warm-up phases. For that reason, CERN’s traditional ‘run through summer and shutdown for winter’ operational model had already been brought into question. Furthermore, we’ve known for some time that work is needed to prepare the LHC for running at energies significantly higher than the 7 TeV collision energy we’ve chosen for the first physics run. The latest data show that while we can run the LHC at 7 TeV without risk to the machine, running it at higher energy would require more work in the tunnel. These facts led us to a simple choice: run for a few months now and programme successive short shutdowns to step up in energy, or run for a long time now and schedule a single long shutdown before allowing 14 TeV (7 TeV per beam).

A long run now is the right decision for the LHC and for the experiments. It gives the machine people the time necessary to prepare carefully for the work that’s needed before allowing 14 TeV. And for the experiments, 18 to 24 months will bring enough data across all the potential discovery areas to firmly establish the LHC as the world’s foremost facility for high-energy particle physics.

I’d like to invite you all to the summary of the Chamonix workshop on Friday 5 February at 14:00 in the Main auditorium. See:http://indico.cern.ch/conferenceDisplay.py?confId=83135

Steve Myers