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U.S. scientists count down to LHC startup

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

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Media Contact: Sue Stevens

ARLINGTON - On September 10, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider will attempt for the first time to send a proton beam zooming around the 27-kilometer-long accelerator. The LHC, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, is located at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

About 150 scientists from three U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science National Laboratories - Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California - have built crucial LHC accelerator components. They are joined by colleagues from the Stanford Linear Accelerator and The University of Texas in Austin in commissioning and continuing research and development for the LHC. About 1,600 scientists from 93 U.S. institutions participate in the LHC experiments, including The University of Texas at Arlington, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at Dallas.

The LHC will go for a test drive the weekend of Aug. 9, when the first particles are injected into a small section of the LHC. The LHC is the final step in a series of accelerators that bring beam particles from a standstill to energies of 7 TeV. In the injection test this weekend, scientists will make the first attempt to send protons into the LHC, steering them around approximately one-eighth of the LHC ring before safely disposing of the low-intensity beam.

Next up is a series of tests to confirm that the entire LHC machine is capable of accelerating beams to an energy of 5 TeV, the target energy for 2008. On Sept. 10, LHC scientists will go full throttle and try for the first circulating beam. First collisions of protons in the center of the LHC experiments are expected four to eight weeks later.

“We’re finishing a marathon with a sprint,” said CERN’s Lyn Evans, the LHC project leader. “It’s been a long haul, and we’re all eager to get the LHC research program under way.”

The experiments will analyze the LHC’s high-energy collisions in search of extraordinary discoveries about the nature of the physical universe. The LHC experiments could reveal the origins of mass, shed light on dark matter, uncover hidden symmetries of the universe and possibly find extra dimensions of space.

U.S. first beam events will take place at Fermilab near Chicago, Brookhaven Lab in Upton, N.Y. and in the San Francisco Bay area. United States contributions to the Large Hadron Collider are supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Science Foundation. More information about U.S. participation in the LHC and its experiments is available at http://www.uslhc.us. Photos and graphics of the Large Hadron Collider are available at:

http://multimedia-gallery.web.cern.ch/multimedia-gallery/PhotoGallery_Main.aspx

and http://www.uslhc.us/Images

Additional media contacts are:

Brookhaven National Laboratory – Kendra Snyder, ksnyder@bnl.gov, (631) 344-8191

Fermilab – Judy Jackson, jjackson@fnal.gov, (630) 840-3351

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – Dan Krotz, dakrotz@lbl.gov, (510) 486-4019 and Paul Preuss, paul_preuss@lbl.gov, (510) 486-6249

CERN – James Gillies, james.gillies@cern.ch, +41 22 767 4101

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