U.S. scientists join in “cosmic challenge” at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

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Batavia, Ill.–Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory joined collaborators from around the world in announcing today (July 26) that the giant CMS detector at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, Switzerland, has been sealed and switched on to collect data for an important series of tests using cosmic ray particles. Cosmic rays from space provide a source of high-energy particles like those from accelerator-generated particle collisions.

U.S. physicists are among the CMS scientists taking and analyzing data from cosmic rays to calibrate and align the CMS particle detector in preparation for the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider accelerator at CERN next year. DOE’s Fermilab, near Chicago, Illinois, serves as the host laboratory for the U.S. CMS collaboration, and the U.S. helped to fund the design and construction of the detector.

“The U.S. Department of Energy is excited about what the LHC will bring to scientists’ understanding of the birth and present state of the universe,” said Dr. Robin Staffin, DOE associate director for High Energy Physics. “These results will surely be ‘historic events’!”

The LHC is a discovery machine, designed to answer fundamental questions about the universe. Four major experiments, ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb, will observe high-energy particle collisions produced by the LHC, looking for answers to questions such as what gives matter its mass, what the invisible 96 percent of the universe is made of, why nature prefers matter to antimatter and how matter evolved from the first instants of the universe’s existence. U.S. scientists collaborate on all four experiments.

“At the U.S. National Science Foundation, we are eagerly looking forward to the discoveries to be made at the LHC,” said Marvin Goldberg, program director in NSF’s Division of Physics. “Critical milestones like the cosmic challenge tell us that LHC startup is drawing near. Our anticipation is shared not only by particle physicists, but by school teachers, their students, and computer scientists. The LHC program is an example of what can be achieved by people at universities and laboratories of many nations working together cooperatively.”

The detector elements for the cosmic challenge, including two square meters of silicon, constitute an array larger than any used in CERN’s previous generation of experiments, but make up only about one percent of the final detector that will ultimately be installed in CMS when the LHC starts up.

“This is a major milestone in the progress toward the first data-taking in 2007,” said Fermilab physicist Dan Green, research program manager of the U.S. CMS collaboration. “It marks the end of the beginning. The detector is coming together as a fantastic instrument of discovery.”

Progress with the LHC accelerator itself passed an important milestone earlier this month, with installation of the main superconducting dipole magnets reaching the halfway mark, when the 616th dipole out of a total of 1232 was installed at 3 a.m. on July 12. The dipoles are the LHC’s key elements, and will steer the machine’s high-energy beams around their 27-km orbit.


Notes for Editors

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world’s leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.

Fermilab is a Department of Energy National Laboratory operated under a contract with DOE by Universities Research Association, Inc. Funding for U.S. participation in the LHC is provided by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.

US Institutions Participating in LHC

88 institutions from across the United States participate in LHC experiments, and four US national laboratories belong to the LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP). They are:

University of Arizona, Tucson (ATLAS)

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (CMS)
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley (ATLAS, LARP)
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore (CMS)
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Menlo Park (ATLAS, LARP)
University of California, Berkeley (ATLAS)
University of California, Davis (CMS)
University of California, Irvine (ATLAS)
University of California, Los Angeles (CMS)
University of California, Riverside (CMS)
University of California, San Diego (CMS)
University of California, Santa Barbara (CMS)
University of California, Santa Cruz (ATLAS)

University of Colorado, Boulder (CMS)
Fairfield University, Fairfield (CMS)
Yale University, New Haven (ATLAS, CMS)

Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne (CMS)
Florida International University, Miami (CMS)
Florida State University, Tallahassee (CMS)
University of Florida, Gainesville (CMS)

Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne (ATLAS)
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia (CMS, LARP)
Northwestern University, Evanston (CMS)
University of Chicago, Chicago (ATLAS)
University of Illinois at Chicago (CMS)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (ATLAS)

Indiana University, Bloomington (ATLAS)
Purdue University, West Lafayette (CMS)
Purdue University Calumet, Hammond (CMS)
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame (CMS)

Iowa State University, Ames (ATLAS, CMS)
University of Iowa, Iowa City (CMS)

Kansas State University, Manhattan (CMS)
University of Kansas, Lawrence (CMS)

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (CMS)
University of Maryland, College Park (CMS)

Boston University, Boston (ATLAS, CMS)
Brandeis University, Waltham (ATLAS)
Harvard University, Cambridge (ATLAS)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (ATLAS, CMS)
Northeastern University, Boston (CMS)
Tufts University, Medford (ATLAS)
University of Massachusetts, Amherst (ATLAS)

Michigan State University, East Lansing (ATLAS)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (ATLAS)

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (CMS)

University of Mississippi, Oxford (CMS)

Creighton University, Omaha (ALICE)
University of Nebraska, Lincoln (CMS)

New Jersey
Princeton University, Princeton (CMS)
Rutgers State University of New Jersey, Piscataway (CMS)

New Mexico
New Mexico University, Albuquerque (ATLAS)

New York
Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton (ATLAS, LARP)
Columbia University, New York (ATLAS)
Cornell University, Ithaca (CMS)
New York University, New York (ATLAS)
Rockefeller University, New York (CMS)
State University of New York at Albany (ATLAS)
State University of New York at Buffalo (CMS)
State University of New York at Stony Brook (ATLAS)
Syracuse University, Syracuse (LHCb)
University of Rochester, Rochester (CMS)

North Carolina
Duke University, Durham (ATLAS)

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland (TOTEM)
Ohio State University, Columbus (ALICE, ATLAS, CMS)
Ohio Supercomputer Center, Columbus (ALICE)

Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma (ATLAS)
University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma (ATLAS)

University of Oregon, Eugene (ATLAS)

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (CMS)
Penn State University, University Park (TOTEM)
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (ATLAS)
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh (ATLAS)

Puerto Rico
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (CMS)

Rhode Island
Brown University, Providence (CMS)

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge (ALICE)
Vanderbilt University, Nashville (CMS)

Rice University, Houston (CMS)
Southern Methodist University, Dallas (ATLAS)
Texas A&M University, College Station (CMS)
Texas Tech University, Lubbock (CMS)
University of Texas at Arlington (ATLAS)

Hampton University, Hampton (ATLAS)
University of Virginia, Charlottesville (CMS)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg (CMS)

University of Washington, Seattle (ATLAS)

University of Wisconsin, Madison (ATLAS, CMS)