ISOLDE

July 13th, 2017
ISOLDE

Had another site visit this morning, this time to the oldest experiment at CERN, originally from 1957, ISOLDE, Isotope Mass  Separator On-Line Facility. Here, they take protons from the proton synchrotron and fire them at targets of heavier elements to form new elements and isotopes. Applications are varied, from manufacturing rare isotopes for medical treatment, to investigating the fine structure of atomic nuclei. The main part of the facility are essentially three mass spectrometers of improving resolution. This means they are better at separating nuclei of similar mass, for example Cd-130 from Ba-130. Once separated, they can study each in detail.

The measured shape of the nucleus gives information of the role of the weak and strong forces in holding nuclei together, and by measuring their energies precisely, and converting this to mass via E=mc2, they can determine the binding energy. Marvellous.

One of the people in charge of ISOLDE is Richard Catherall, an ex Alun Student. You may just make him out in the first picture, sat in a meeting in the control room nearest the outside window. Other pictures you can make out the beam lines which show you where the accelerated protons make their way across the experiment hall towards their target. Lots of high vacuum equipment on view which reminds me of my career in engineering. Happy days :)

Our guide was a PhD studrnt from Denmark who uses lasers to excite electrons between their orbitals in order to perform spectroscopy on the fine structure of the orbitals.

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A quiet day

July 12th, 2017
A quiet day

Link: http://ippog.org

Today was a quieter day with only lectures and a working group. The lectures were really based on what CERN can offer teachers and the working groupni am on iscto help modify a website for the International Particle Physics Outreach Group, IPPOG. I have attatched the link to the current site below.

So I went for a walk whilst the laundary was on before dinner. Here are some photos. The street names here are named after fsmous Physicists, and Planck should be a name familiar to all AS students. The second photo is of a stone in a field outside one of the Linear Accelerator buildings ( there are four Linacs in total). All so far not interesting, until you look closer and realise this stone represents the boarder between Switzerland on the right and France on the left.

One last thing, CERN is so big, like a small, self contained town. Like everyvtown, it needs its own Fire Brigade.

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Latest doings

July 12th, 2017

Link: https://op-webtools.web.cern.ch/Vistar/vistars.php

Been a busy couple of days, more ofvwhich later. However, the highlight of yesterday was a visit to the LHC control centre. ThevLHC is so big, that wechadvto leave the site in Switzerland and cross the boarder into France. The first part of the visit to Prevessin was to a NASA facility. There is a particle detector on the International Space Station and CERN is where the experiment was built by Prof Samuel Ting, a Nobel prize winner who we just happened to bump into in the corridor. The facilitybis the control room for the experiment and is in 24hr contact with the ISS. There are even live tv screens there so we can keep an eye on the astronauts.

The second part of the visit was to the CERN LHC control centre. This is where all parts of accelerator complex are controlled from from the valve on the bottle of Hydrogen, via the Linac, two synchrotrons and finally the LHC ring. The CC us esentially a big room full of buttons and monitors, obviously, we were not allowed in incase any of use started playing with it.

See the attatched short video giving a panoramic view of the NASA control room and a link which will show you the current status of all parts of the CERN accelerator complex and experiments.

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CERN data centre

July 10th, 2017
CERN data centre

Some images of the cern computer centre. This is where data is stored, servers undertake analysis and the CERN web is based to allow access to data from around the globe.

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CERN computing

July 10th, 2017
CERN computing

Just had a fascinating visit to the CERN computer center. Here we learned a lot about the amount of data generated and the difficulties of storing it. 99.99% of data obtained by the experiments are filtered out quickly and they are expected rsults. Ot is the final 0.01% that is stored for analysis around the world. Even though, this useful data is 500TB of data, equivalent to 400 Macbooks. This data is stored on magnetic tape. Exhibits included a 24inch magnetic disk from 1974, able to store 10MB. Equivalent to a decent camera photograph today. Then there was a hard disk from 1991, able to store 34GB of data, and in the middle is a modern 3.5inch hard disk like you have in your computer at home, able to store 2TB.