back to article The Reg puts Vulture inside the Large Hadron Collider

It's probably the greatest scientific experiment of our time (or at least the biggest), a 27km round tunnel that fires trillions of protons in opposite directions over 11,000 times a second at 99.9999991 per cent of the speed of light lying under the Alps in Europe. LHCb entrance The entrance to the Large Hadron Collider …

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  1. Flawless101
    Devil

    Awesome pictures

    Interesting stuff, good Friday morning read.

    Wonder if a few of them network cables have ever slipped out.

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    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Re: Awesome pictures

      "awesome pictures"

      Really? —While I was reading the article, I was thinking what an opportunity was missed by not taking someone who knew how to handle a camera properly.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Awesome pictures

        It also explains why particle physics grad students are all tall - ideally 6'7"

        Since the only point of particle physics grad students is to stand in front of detectors in pictures to give them scale.

    3. Mips
      Childcatcher

      Re: Awesome pictures

      The guy who designed the muon equipment must have had a bad night after watching "Event Horizon".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So...

    When are you going up t'A34 to Harwell then? Not quite as impressive, but there are lots of interesting things that happen there. And did you know that much of the data generated at CERN ends up in the Oxfordshire countryside where it is plucked apart for interesting things? :-)

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Harwell Scarlet Pimpernels, AC? Fabless Trojans and AI Partisans in dDelight of Danegeld v Payments*

      One would expect no less, AC, and England expects Surreal IntelAIgent Servers to Trump and Thump against Boundaries and Division with Full Disclosure of All Futures Source Supply of Remote Private Pirate ParaMilitary Controlled Virtualisation Kit , Base Field Upgradeable to Lower and Higher Levels of Competence and Civility in the Quiet Company of Perfectly Engaging Entangling Strangers ...... Enjoying Paradise.

      Methinks that be a Big Hitter for Harwell, and the Gross Export Revenue Potential, Exponential. A Right Royal Right Stuff Little Earner/Quicker Breeder Intelligence Core Supply to Source InterNetworking Server Provision.

      Does Blighty Telecom express fervent favoured first party interest in securing inalienable rights to sections of Enjoying Paradise with Definite Vision lest the Pleasures and Treasures lost and found in the Halls of Confusion and Anxious Panic Overwhelm One to Wander Alone as if Nothing can be done, whenever All is Before One to Captivate and Excite with Mutually Assuring Captures of Passable Strong Dreams for Tales that are the dDelight of Danegeld Payments Holders.

      Or are Private and Pirate Intelligent Communications Enterprises to make the CyberPlace PlaySpace Entirely their Own? I can't see that happening as long as honey flows and bees seek pollen/manimals seeks greater knowledge for control in environments..... Thought projected viewscapes which are processed to output real from input cosmic.

      * A popular SOAP for Edutainment with the Polymath

      I'm all for Harwell doing all of that and anything else too that might need to be done, and would be somewhat disappointed and even dismayed to discover that certain assumed readily available facilities were in both fact and deed, a empty shell business scam and get-filthy-paper-rich-quickly-and-scarper confection, although that is not without its own attractions and opportunities to capitalise on as penetrations tests for vulnerabilities and systemic weaknesses/Mad Rad Bad Codelines/Sublime Instruction Sets.

      a 27km round tunnel

      CERN ... One Super Intelligent Source ring to rule them all with Novel Informative Operations in AIDivine Interventionism would be like Atlas Engineers Exploring and Reverse Engineering Quantum Communication Control Systems just so that they can Control Holy States and Great Stakes in Virtual Play with Shows of SMARTR Leadership with Heavenly Provision ..... being a True Reflection of Source Ore Provenance.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Harwell Scarlet Pimpernels, Spilling the Beans ......... on the Unquenchable Powers of Passion

        And in CodeX-XSSXXXX, a Riverboat Queen AIdDVenture. One ESPecially Gifted to Hot Ladies with Passionate Beings Good Enough to Tempt and Seduce a Mark Anthony. That be Cleopatra's KISS and the Glory is Unconditional Surrender to Total Pleasure with Insatiables ..... Nymps and Satyrs in Live Operational Virtual Environments. A Colossal Quantum Leap to Make and Take for Guarantees of One's Enjoyment in LOVE but necessarily so for the Safety of Travellers into Perfect Strangers.

        And one doesn't need a great imagination to imagine the fun and frolics to be enjoyed by AIgents HyperRadioProActive in those conditions. :-) LOVE is all you Need in Deed to Feed, is a Novel Answer to Leading Questions.

        A Voice for Pandora to Exercise Passionate Restraint in Releasing Pent Up Frustration's Furies upon Immediate Intimate Contact/Virgin Virtual Coupling for New SMARTR Sends to Global Operating Devices and Crazy Diamond Satellite Stations .... urTelePort Operator System Granting Access and Entry into Fabless Star Labs with Universal Scripting Supposedly in Total and Absolute Control of CHAOS in a New World Order in a New Orderly World of Worlds Created by Words, Witches and Wizards, Sinners and Saints ..... and Special Forces/Carpe Diem Brigands working dDeep UnderGround with Apolitically Aligned Astute Autonomously Active Control Systems. HushHush Classified Stuff most probably as it certainly should be :-) ...... and therefore most probably is Present Reality somewhere to be Presented Everywhere to Create one SMARTR Path to Follow with AIReprogramMING of Virtual Reality to Highly Qualified Expert Master Crash Test Pilot Standards which can be a Protective Program for Protected and Proprietary Intellectual Property Interests.

  3. David Shaw
    Coat

    when you write 'held together by ... tinfoil' - wasn't that just the bakeout jackets? or bakeout-shielding? - to get the UHV in my time at cern we cleaned everything, then plasma cleaned it, then roughed it down, then turbo'ed/diffusion/getter'd it down - finally baking as much of the accelerator as we could at 400 degC for days - to reduce the adsorption problems. Still had the odd beam blow-up from a rogue ionised molecule or two...

    as for holding things together - we often used sellotape/scotch - to hold the really important bits together...

    then in 1985 we were given one of the first transatlantic BITNET 2 megabit/s data links - "hmm, that might come in useful oneday we started to think..."

    visits are a great idea - register about a year before you want the tour - and don't forget to ask where the lead (Pb) for the detector shielding comes from!

  4. Gordon Pryra

    They call it dark matter

    But isn't it more likely that WE are in the dark matter part?

    Across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours look for where they put the missing 5% of their universe.......

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: They call it dark matter

      It's probably down the back of the sofa. It's dark back there...

      1. Wzrd1

        Re: They call it dark matter

        Neil, don't be silly.

        EVERYBODY knows that dark matter is really a collection throughout the universe of all of the single missing socks from the clothes dryer.

  5. WonkoTheSane
    Boffin

    So you didn't meet this guy then?

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_hIGrFxSTkBU/TMGyceAbP5I/AAAAAAAAB6Y/6-eGvqc5pP0/s1600/Gordon%2BFreeman%2BSpotted%2BAt%2BCERN.jpg

    1. Dr. G. Freeman
      Pint

      Re: So you didn't meet this guy then?

      Wouldn't have- I'm away on holiday until a week on Monday.

      11am Beer, why thank you.

      1. Roger Greenwood
        Pint

        Re: So you didn't meet this guy then?

        Your post was at 9:53am GMT so you'll need another by now.

        You're welcome.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So you didn't meet this guy then?

          We're on BST right now....

          1. Roger Greenwood

            Re: So you didn't meet this guy then?

            "We're on BST right now...."

            I know, I just thought 4 minutes was enough for a first pint.

            Especially on a Friday.

  6. LesC
    Mushroom

    Wot...

    No zombies shuffling around then wanting your braaaains?

    http://www.decayfilm.com/

  7. bearded bear can

    Kinda resembles the intro in Half-Life

    before Black Mesa goes bananas

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Kinda resembles the intro in Half-Life

      As long as I could meet Alyce Vance, it would be worth it.

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    2. The lone lurker

      Re: SUSY is already dead

      think that disproving a theory through empirical observation has as much merit as proving the theory.

      If the current theories are proved false then new theories will be formulated and experiments created to attempt to prove or disprove them it's why we need theoretical physicists in the first place.

      Less career ruining, more like career expanding.

      EADON FAIL!

      1. Tim Parker

        Re: SUSY is already dead

        "And, given String Theory depends on SUSY - this absence of SUSY is a PR blow for that too."

        Some string theories involve SUSY but string theory per se is most certainly not dependent on it.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: SUSY is already dead

          Some string theories involve SUSY but string theory per se is most certainly not dependent on it.

          As my understanding of the matter goes, string theory posits things that are tied up in tiny knots, the emergent properties of which we know as particles, in which case SUSY, being a particle theory, depends on string theory. Since there are approsimately eleventyzillion different 'solutions' to string theory, only some of which predict SUSY, surely what Eadon is saying is, errm, bollocks. But of course, that could never happen.

          The real problem with string theory is that it isn't really a theory, since it makes no predictions as such, and has so many different solutions, it pretty much 'predicts' a ridiculously massive number of outcomes, any of which could actually match our universe. Not so much a theory of everything, as a theory of everything that isn't as well.

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    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: SUSY is already dead

      Eadon really is the IBM Watson of the commentariat.

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    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Higgs Mass Myth

      Kinda, sort of. As I understand it (which, admittedly could be wrong), it is the Higgs field which gives things mass, the Higgs particle is the 'carrier' of that field, in the same way that the photon is the 'carrier' of the electromagnetic field, but it isn't required to make electromagnets work.

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    1. Tim Parker

      Re: Literally?

      ""literally trying to answer questions about life, the Universe and everything"

      I'm fairly sure that the LHC is not trying to find the answer as to why beer tastes good or why real geeks prefer Linux or why dogs are better than cats."

      It is answering questions (i.e. some questions) about those things, not every question. A single question about 'life, the Universe and everything" can be just that, a single question - aside from your pedantry about someone using a well known phrase.

      "It's still a fantastic experiment though, which is now causing uneasy problems for another dodgy hack of a model - Cosmic Inflation."

      I can agree that it's fantastic and with inflation being a hack - prediction-wise an elegant one granted, at least when some conditions are tweaked, but only elegant in the way that a sticking plaster can be IMO.

      "LITERALLY" FAIL

      How very self-observant.

      1. Alan Firminger

        Re: Literally?

        I gave you a thumbs up Tim. There is autopilot writing in this otherwise well observed and interesting article.

        Literally refers to literature, which is the inverse the what happens.

        It is no way the biggest experiment of all time, nor even so far. Sending neutrons to Rome was bigger, so was Marconi transmitting across the Atlantic, so was Römer's measurement of the speed of light by timing Jupiter's moons.

        And yes, usage of 'literally' is to add emphasis, I blame politicians for corrupting language by their love of false drama.

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    2. Martin Budden
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Literally?

      Cats are better than dogs.

  11. Gordon Pryra
    Coat

    42

    No-one else said it....

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Boffin

      Re: 42

      What do you get if you multiply six by nine?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 42

        Fiftyfour?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 42, 6x9

          6x9 = 42, in base 13

          1. Ben Holmes
            Happy

            ...in base 13.

            Pervert.

  12. Faye B
    Paris Hilton

    Magnetic connectors

    It kind of puts the LOHAN heater connectors problem in perspective, doesn't it.

  13. andy gibson

    Boulby Dark matter Lab

    Although not as famous or glamorous as CERN, I can highly recommend a trip to Boulby:

    http://www.stfc.ac.uk/boulby/default.aspx

    Went a few years ago, it was fantastic.

  14. myob
    Boffin

    Public open day 29th Sept

    I was considering booking a holiday.

    http://opendays2013.web.cern.ch/29th-september-general-public-day

  15. Sir Crispalot
    Paris Hilton

    "In case of alarm do not go down"

    It's alright Paris, I'll be really quick.

  16. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    The only thing that dimmed this Vulture's spirits just a little was that your humble explorer had not started to glow, shrunk to tiny size or developed any super-strength as a result of the close encounter with the collider.

    Of course not, the LHC was down. But didn't you encounter any zombies?!

    1. Wzrd1

      Nah, everyone knows that the zombies hang out in engineering.

      Though, the super zombies live in auditing.

  17. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    IET

    If any of you are members of the IET it's worth giving the guys in the Swiss branch a call, they organize CERN visits from time to time, but numbers are limited.

    1. Wzrd1

      Re: IET

      Bummer, I was only ISCET. :(

      Hmm, wonder if I could bribe my way into a lunch with the project EE's...

  18. MondoMan
    Mushroom

    What about Ewan McGregor?

    Didn't you have a deal to filch some Higgs bosons so he could "save" the Vatican and become Pope after Benedict retired?

  19. FartingHippo
    Boffin

    15 million gigabytes

    15 petabytes sounds a lot cooler :)

  20. N2 Silver badge
    Happy

    Excellent stuff

    Thank you, Im off to split an atom...

  21. Alan Brown Silver badge

    tunnels

    Of course they're not allowed in the tunnels when it's on, but even if there wasn't a rule saying that, noone would want to be in them when it's on.

    Unless they have a death wish.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: getting left behind

    I can relate (on a much smaller scale). A few of us got lost in a basement of Argonne national labs on a tour once. Their collider was down for maintenance, so we had been able to go into the target room (where they smash the fast going stuff into other stuff). On the way back, one of our instructors got distracted by a neat piece of equipment. Next thing we know, we're wandering alone. Finally found an exit that led out to the lawn.

    Pre-9/11, so we didn't end up in a federal pen. Our instructor did look a lot like the Unibomber, though...

    Got to tour Fermi on the same trip... only got to see the first two stages of their accelerator up close, though (first stage looked like a prop from a 1950's sci-fi flick).

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: re: getting left behind

      Next thing we know, we're wandering alone. Finally found an exit that led out to the lawn.

      It must have been a Triumph and a Great Success!

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: re: getting left behind

      Pre-9/11, such a wonderful time.

      My wife and I actually drove onto a nuclear plant's property, right up to the cooling towers and took pictures.

      Today, we'd probably get shot at.

    3. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: re: getting left behind

      OK AC, I know that you are now blue and posting from Mars and I want to visit your glass castle.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Watchmen_characters#Doctor_Manhattan

  23. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    I'm disappointed!!!

    I was kind of hoping our journalistic hero would lose track of his group, wander off and find the room with the Stargate in it!

    The chevrons are locking!!!!

  24. Palf
    Thumb Up

    ".. in a two-year process known as the long shutdown"

    It's actually known as The Long Dark Teatime of the LHC..

    “No private detective looks like a private detective. That's one of the first rules of private detection."

    "But if no private detective looks like a private detective, how does a private detective know what it is he's supposed not to look like? Seems to me there's a problem there.”

    ― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

    1. Wzrd1

      Ahh, Douglas Adams. He is truly missed.

      Every time I remember he's gone, I have to remember his most excellent advice: DON'T PANIC.

      And remember where your towel is.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Playmobile Man

    How did he get into the pictures?

  26. Trainee grumpy old ****
    Boffin

    Page 2 - top-most picture

    What is the symbol in the yellow triangle near the top of the frame? And what does it mean?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Page 2 - top-most picture

      Apparently it means "too drunk to stand", but what is it doing there?

    2. Blofeld's Cat
      Boffin

      Re: Page 2 - top-most picture

      It's a slumped person and it means "Danger of suffocation".

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Page 2 - top-most picture

      "Danger of deep depression and apathy due to nog being ever able to fully grok what is happening here"

  27. DougS Silver badge

    100,000 DVDs worth of data a year

    Somehow this makes it sound very unimpressive to me. One could imagine a job that involved feeding blanks to a bank of DVD writers that wrote this amount of data every year. At a bit less than one DVD per minute in a normal workday/year, it wouldn't even be a particular difficult or RSI-inducing job, measured against other types of repetitive task manufacturing jobs, though it would certainly be dull.

    I wonder how many DVDs worth of data are contained in a day's worth of SMS texts, let alone a day's worth of Facebook posts. I hope I don't find out, or it'll likely make the LHC's data output sound even less impressive.

  28. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Compact Muon Solenoid

    That's a definition of 'compact' which I wasn't aware of until now.

  29. paulc
    Coat

    machines that go ping?

    where were they? I was brought here under false pretenses...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sod the experiments

    How do I get a job working in that awesome computer room?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sod the experiments

      you apply, assuming the opening is genuinely open (many slots are alloted with somebody in mind already) and it isn't a theater produced by HR. Though you need to know, that due to the forced mobility, you will build someone else's future and you will likely end up "finally be qualified to find other possibilities" (see below for the ponzi scheme/scam)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sod the experiments

      my job at CERN was just following an application letter - single A4 sheet CV - I mentioned that I spoke fair School level French and was able to work happily away from UK.

      CERN wrote back inviting me for an interview, which I couldn't make due to being locked into a contract somewhere else, so I wrote & told them this. CERN responded by saying they'd write to me when they next had a vacancy - and a year later I was shocked to actually get this "dear ____, are you able to attend this selection process" which I was and I got the job!

      Recruitment during my time was fair, reasonable and balanced (remember that the admin at CERN was setup BY the scientists - FOR the scientists when they designed the lab in the late 1940's....)

      Currently I check http://cerncourier.com/cws/jobs for places, but a nice spontaneous letter to someone at "General Infrastructure Services Department (GS), CERN CH-1211 Geneva", might work?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sod the experiments

        Moreover, during the last TREF meeting on 30 May 2012, Management announced to the Member State delegates that the conversion rate of LD to IC will be about 40% for the coming years. Consequently, huge pressure will be put on the various Departments since they will have to compete vigorously to obtain an IC “slot” if they want to keep staff essential to guaranteeing the quality of service required of them. Unfortunately, and to our great regret, this situation will create even more anxiety and insecurity. This will be difficult for LD staff to cope with. Indeed, even while giving complete satisfaction, they have no forward vision about the possibility of pursuing a career at CERN.

        http://www.flownet.com/gat/jpl-lisp.html (ie. matrix management @CERN)

  31. pctechxp

    Re: machines that go ping

    That'll be the microwave in the staff canteen.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Warning to non-western members:

    "How should we make it attractive for them [young people] to spend 5,6,7 years in our field, be satisfied, learn about excitement, but finally be qualified to find other possibilities?" -- H. Schopper

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Spin_(public_relations)#Techniques

    And a warning besides PR spin to non-western members:

    "The cost [...] has been evaluated, taking into account realistic labor prices in different countries. The total cost is X (with a western equivalent value of Y) [ahol Y>X]

    forrás: LHCb calorimeters : Technical Design Report

    ISBN: 9290831693 http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/494264

  33. Wzrd1

    My ideal tour would be with the electrical engineers, with schematics and engineering notes.

    Those coils aren't constantly on, but switched precisely to boost the particles along their merry way.

    So, to me, that tour would be learning how certain electronic issues are resolved, as well as some magnetic issues, such as quenching the coil at switch off.

    For, counter-EMF is the bane of the unwary engineer. :)

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