Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The CMS Detector

While I'm doing all this, why not introduce to you the CMS Detector itself?

The photo I'm using for the guitar is a head-on view of this 14000 ton piece of some of the most complex and precise machinery ever made, spanning a cylinder 21m long and 15m in diameter. The photo was taken without the "lids" (or, as we call them, endcaps) in place, so you can see the cylindrical "barrel" part with layers of different particle detection devices arranged in circles around the center.

This central point is the Interaction Point where particle collisions take place. Protons accelerated in the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) accelerator are smashed head-on 40 million times in every second. As the energy of the colliding protons is converted into matter, a few to over a hundred particles are created and fly outwards in all directions. The role of CMS is to detect them and measure their properties. Based on this information us physicists try to figure out what happened in the collisions, with hope of finding something new and unknown...

The diagram below should give you a sense of the geometry - and the scale (see the little guy down there?) of the experiment:

For more info check out these pages, for example.

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