University of Sydney Physicists await world record bid

30 March 2010

University of Sydney physicists will be glued to their monitors as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) attempts to collide protons at a world record energy.

The LHC is the newest particle accelerator of the European Particle Physics Laboratory (CERN) located near Geneva, Switzerland. It has been designed and built to collide particles up to energies of 14 TeV, which has not yet been achieved. Tonight's attempt of 7 TeV is an important part of its development.

The high energy physics group of the School of Physics at the University of Sydney is a founding member of the ATLAS collaboration which designed and built the ATLAS detector. The detector is ready to record tonight's collisions and give physicist a glimpse of the particles produced at these energies. The Sydney team members are: A/Prof Kevin Varvell, Dr Bruce Yabsley, Dr Aldo Saavedra, Dr Anthony Waugh, Jason Lee, Nikhul Patel, Cameron Cuthbert, Mark Scarcella and Ian Watson.

The LHC already holds the world record for the highest centre of mass energy proton collisions. At the end of the commissioning run that took place in December 2009, each proton beam was accelerated to an energy of 1.18 TeV to achieve proton collisions with a centre of mass energy of 2.36 TeV. The previous record was 1.96 TeV that was set in 2001 by the Tevatron an anti-proton proton collider of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) near Chicago, USA.

Dr Aldo Saavedra from the School of Physics who is eagerly awaiting to study the collisions at 7 TeV should it prove successful said that much was learnt from the December run.

"Even though most of the collisions took place at 0.9 TeV, the steady operation of the LHC allowed ATLAS to record a few million events that have been used to study the performance of the detector and tune its software description by measuring well known particle decays.

Already the collaboration has presented these results at conferences and papers have been accepted for publication.

"The LHC is expected to routinely provide collisions at this energy for the experiments over the next two years which should result in a large amount of data as it increases the intensity of the beam and the number of collisions per second.

The attempt can be viewed live this afternoon starting from 5:30pm at the following link

Contact: Rachel Gleeson, University of Sydney Media Officer

Phone: 0403 067 342

Email: 3e25075f4e2a432e4309573a391e3a150b20043c3a56352919773430