The beam dump is a large graphite block used to take up the energy stored in the LHC beam in case the beam needs to be shut down. Since the energy in the beam can be as high as the kinetic energy of a landing 747-400, designing and operating the dump is challenging. In this episode, Marco Calviani, who heads the group that is responsible for this and other beam dumps at CERN, tells us about how the dump works, and what they have recently changed in order to cope with the higher luminosity in future configurations of the LHC.
ATLAS is one of the two general-purpose experiments at the LHC. It has been conceived, designed, and built over decades by hundreds of scientists and engineers from dozens of countries and hundreds of organizations. My guest, Peter Jenni, has been the head of the ATLAS collaboration for most of this time. In this episode we talk about science and engineering, but mostly about organizational aspects and the “community management” necessary to get such a magnificent machine off the ground.
In May I visited ALICE, one of the four large experiments at the LHC and talked with Despina Hatzifotiadou. We briefly discussed the science that ALICE is interested in, and then spent the majority of the time dissecting the detector to understand its components and how they detect the various products of particle collisions.