The LHC ticks onwards

Last month, CERN took the decision to run The Large Hadron Collider for the next eighteen months or so, up to a maximum energy of 3.5 TeV per beam, before having an extended shutdown period to prepare to take it up to its design maximum of 7 TeV per beam. I am sure this will […]

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Where the money is

I was reading this weekend in January’s physicsworld some curiously contrasting articles on the state of physics funding in various countries. The UK has recently announced some serious cutbacks to their international collaborative projects, in an attempt to claw back 40 million pounds that was mis-spent a couple of years ago following an accounting error.  Whoops. […]

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The importance of physics

It is sometimes hard as a scientist to maintain a broad focus. It is very easy to get obsessed with your pet project and forget the equally important stuff being done by scientists and others elsewhere. Just because you find your research extremely interesting and you can see lots of uses for it, it doesn’t […]

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LHC happenings

A couple of weeks ago the Large Hadron Collider became the world’s highest energy particle accelerator, reaching a beam energy of 1.18 TeV. It also breaks the 1 TeV barrier for the first time, taking the record of the Tevatron at Fermilab, near Chicago. The equipment is gradually being ‘tuned up’ and hopefully we will see […]

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Blink and you miss it

First collisions in the Large Hadron Collider http://press.web.cern.ch/press/PressReleases/Releases2009/PR17.09E.html Only at a ‘paltry’ 0.45 TeV per beam (CERN are wanting to ramp that up to about 3.5 TeV per beam over the next few months) but one can really now say that the LHC ‘works’. 

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You heard it hear second

 I’ve got better things to do at the weekend than following CERN’s tweets about the LHC. Consequently this posting is about 24 hours out of date. Oh well. The LHC has circulating beams in it again, with not a time-travelling baguette in sight. http://press.web.cern.ch/press/PressReleases/Releases2009/PR16.09E.html

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Group dynamics

Well, I went down to Wellington last Thursday and presented at the Science Express event at Te Papa. It was the third time I’ve done a talk in that manner on the Large Hadron Collider, and it was for me intriguing how the audiences have picked up on different things each time. The first time […]

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What’s the catch?

Last weekend Alison Campbell and I took a trip to New Plymouth to do a day session with final year school students to help them prepare for their physics and biology scholarship exams. (Alison did the Biology half, I did the physics). I do hope the students got something useful out of it. Doing this kind […]

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Anti-gravity

There are some lovely physics demonstrations that get repeatedly wheeled-out for things like Open Day and visits from school groups. Things like holding a spinning bike wheel on a rotating chair (flip it over and you start rotating – conservation of angular momentum) and levitating a piece of superconductor above a magnet at liquid nitrogen […]

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