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In this issue:
From the Director: The World Watches as the LHC Revs Up
Special Colloquium Next Wednesday: Back to Hadrons
Word of the Week: Magnetic Monopoles

SLAC Today

Friday - April 16, 2010

From the Director:
The World Watches as the LHC Revs Up

(Photo - Persis Drell)
(Photo by Linda Cicero.)

The recent news from the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva is impressive. After a cautious and measured restart in the fall, they have ramped the machine up to 7 TeV (center of mass energy) and are now running the highest energy colliding beams in the world. And while it will take some time to get to the machine's full design energy, there is optimism that this first long 18-24 month run will already show us signs of new physics at the TeV scale. Particle physicists have been waiting decades for this moment and we eagerly await the first LHC results. What is truly wonderful to see is that it seems that the whole world is excited and engaged in what we will learn from this wonderful machine. 

Read more...

Special Colloquium Next Wednesday:
Back to Hadrons

Next Wednesday, April 21, at 4:15 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium, CERN Director of Accelerators and Technology Stephen Myers will present a special colloquium, "Back to Hadrons (from the ISR to LEP to the LHC)." 

Meyers will briefly describe CERN's colliders starting with the Intersecting Storage Rings, going through the Large Electron Positron collider, and finishing with the Large Hadron Collider. The common threads will be discussed in terms of people and techniques. For the major part of the talk, Meyer said he will give more details on the recent work on the LHC, in particular, an account of the work carried out to repair the LHC following the accident of September 2008. He will also describe the measures undertaken to ensure that such an event will not reoccur, including the improvements in the magnet protection system and the reduction of the resulting collateral damage. He will also provide the first results of beam operation in the collider as well as the plans for the near future. Read more...

(Image - positive and negative charges)

Word of the Week: Magnetic Monopoles

A magnetic monopole is a hypothetical particle with either a north or a south pole, but not both. Slicing a regular magnet in half won't produce one—that just makes two magnets, both with north and south poles. Several theories predict the existence of these magnetic counterparts to electrons and protons, but physicists have yet to spot a monopole in the wild. Catching one would bolster grand unified theories that the electromagnetic, weak and strong interactions—the theoretical guide to how particles play with each other—are one and the same at high energies. If found, monopoles would even fit elegantly into Maxwell's Equations, the four rules of electromagnetism that explain why static-covered balloons stick to hair, among other things.

Over the past year, researchers have found magnetic "quasiparticles," or ions that acted like isolated north and south poles in crystal lattices, but they aren't actual particles. Detectors at the Large Hadron Collider might be able to spot magnetic monopoles, if they exist, in the aftermath of proton-on-proton collisions.


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