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article imageLarge Hadron Collider will run in 2012, says CERN

By Bart B. Van Bockstaele     Jan 31, 2011 in Science
CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in Geneva, just announced that the LHC will run until the end of 2012, except for a short technical stop at the end of 2011.
The original intention was to let the LHC run until the end of 2011. There would then be a long technical stop in order to prepare the machine for running at full power, 7 TeV per beam. This plan has now changed.
I just received an e-mail from CERN to announce that CERN management had decided to change the original schedule after the annual planning workshop held at Chamonix last week and a report by the laboratory's machine advisory committee which was delivered today.
The reason for the change of plans is the excellent performance of the machine in 2010. In combination with expected performance improvements in 2011, the rate at which experiments can collect data should increase by a factor of three at least, in comparison to 2010.
If LHC continues to improve in 2011 as it did in 2010, we’ve got a very exciting year ahead of us,” said CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, Steve Myers. “The signs are that we should be able to increase the data collection rate by at least a factor of three over the course of this year.
This increased rate of data collection should be enough to bring hints of new physics within reach of the LHC while it is operating at its current energy. Confirming these hints and actually discovering new physics would require more data than can be delivered in one year however, and this led to the decision to delay the planned long shutdown.
Should there be no new physics to be discovered in the energy range that is currently being explored by the LHC, postponing the long shutdown will at least give the LHC experiments the data needed to fully explore this energy range, before moving up to higher energy levels.
With the LHC running so well in 2010, and further improvements in performance expected, there’s a real chance that exciting new physics may be within our sights by the end of the year,” said CERN’s Research Director, Sergio Bertolucci. “For example, if nature is kind to us and the lightest supersymmetric particle, or the Higgs boson, is within reach of the LHC’s current energy, the data we expect to collect by the end of 2012 will put them within our grasp.
According to the schedule which was announced today, the beam energy will be 3.5 TeV in 2011. Beams should be back in the LHC next month, and the machine will run through mid December. There will then be a short technical stop after which the LHC will resume its activities in early 2012.
At the end of 2012, the machine will go into a long shutdown in order to prepare it for running at higher energy levels, starting in 2014.
More about Large hadron collider, Lhc, Cern
 
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