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157 – Fusion at ITER

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This episode is about ITER, the international project to build an experimental fusion plant in southern France. While on vacation in that area, I had the opportunity to visit the site and talk to Richard Pitts about many aspects of the project. We focus mostly on the physics and the engineering challenges, but also address some of the organizational aspects of this huge scientific project. Note that this episode is essentially a continuation of omega tau 022 – Nuclear Fusion at MPI für Plasmaphysik; I recommend to listen to this episode first, if you haven’t done so yet.

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135 – High-Energy Neutrinos and the IceCube Neutrino Observatory

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This episode covers the discovery (strictly speaking, “strong evidence”) for high-energy (astrophysical) neutrinos. The discovery was announced on 22 November 2013. In this episode we talk with DESY‘s Markus Ackermann about the the evidence for astrophysical neutrinos and why they are important. We also discuss how the the IceCube Neutrino Observatory works, which opened up this new field of astronomy. We conclude with a brief conversation about traveling to, and living at the south pole, where IceCube is located.

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134 – Das Cherenkov Telescope Array

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In dieser Episode unterhalten wir uns im Stefan Schlenstedt vom DESY über Kosmische (Gamma-)Strahlung und das in der Entwicklung befindliche Cherenkov Telescope Array. In der Episode sprechen wir über die Grundlegende Physik der kosmischen Strahlung, welche Forschungsziele mit Gammastrahlenobservatorien verfolgt werden sowie die Herausforderungen bei der Entwicklung des CTA.

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102 – Discovering the Higgs

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This episode wraps up our recent coverage on particle physics by discussing in some detail the recent discovery of a Higgs particle. Our guest in this episode is Kerstin Borras who heads up the CMS group at DESY. We recap the role of the Higgs very briefly, look in some detail at the two detectors CMS and ATLAS, discuss the importance of the famous five sigma and look at the process by which such a discovery is confirmed and (re-)checked.

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096 – Controlling the LHC Beam

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In this fourth (and for the time being, last) episode in the series on physics at CERN we look at the LHC from the perspective of the beam producers, and more specifically, from the perspective of the control system for the LHC. To this end, we first talk to Vito Baggiolini, a software engineer in the controls group, and then we talk to Felix Ehm, a technical engineer for the beam control system. In the episode we recap what the LHC does and how it does it (you may want to re-listen to Episode 30 on the LHC), discuss the hardware elements used for beam control, some of the safety and security systems, as well as about the software aspects of the system.

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