darmstadtery & the like

Xynthia's blowin'
My kite up in the sky, now
Push the big button!

The LHC is go, my friends!  And any time you want to know, just check out lhcportal.com or meltronx.com.  They've got the lowdown.

Today I got a tour of CERN's Control Centre, which is located in a big room on the secondary campus.  There are 4 "islands" where people control every accelerator at CERN, and there are a lot of accelerators.  There's a map on the wall in the conference room that shows how they're all hooked together.

Fun things:

  • The LHC runs a "beam" which is comprised of 2800 smaller beams
  • Each small beam is 20cm long and has 10¹¹ particles in it
  • There are 3 metres between beams
  • The magnets that steer the beams are kept at 1.7K (that's -271.3C or -456.34F... damn cold)
  • It takes 4-6 weeks to warm the magnets up or cool them down for repairs and stuff
  • The LHC tunnel is 27km long, 100m underground
    • It was previously used for an accelerator called LEP
  • The guys who maintain the physical equipment like to get around underground on bicycles
  • There is a big box with lots of red buttons in the control room
The dude who gave us our little tour knew what he was talking about, and I learned a lot from it.  :D  He also offered to lead tours of any friends who may show up, so if you guys are thinking of coming to Geneva any time before April...

Other than that, I had a weekend!  I went to good ol' Deutschland to spend it with Olex and Julius: my friends from my days at TU Darmstadt.  We went to a snowboarding and skiing tricks competition, ate food, drank beer, played Risk, played Left 4 Dead 2, cooked food, watched movies (Meet the Spartans, The Book of Eli), played Jugger, and flew a kite.  I also finally had an opportunity to upload more photos: you can see them in my Picasa album or on Facebook.

There was a huge windstorm this weekend: it's been named Xynthia, and I guess it killed several people in Western Europe (particularly France).  It also closed all the train stations in Hesse (the German state that Darmstadt is in) for about 15 hours, so instead of leaving on Sunday afternoon, I took a train at 6am on Monday.  Uuuggghhhhhhh... going to work with no sleep is the worst.  Flying a kite in gale-force winds is the best.

But that's nothing compared to the earthquake that happened in Chile, I guess.  8.8 on the Richter scale, and it shifted the earth's axis 8cm and shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds.  Sure, you won't have any occasion to notice those things, but Earth is flippin' big.  It's amazing that it managed that!

This week has a few things I'm excited about, too:
  • Pub Quiz yesterday!
  • CERN Control Centre tour today!
  • D&D tomorrow!  (Well, okay, it's some knockoff of D&D from Germany, but it is reputed to be just as fun :D)
  • Board games Friday!
  • Zürich Saturday/Sunday?  (Looking for anyone else who might want to go?)
  • Joe arrives on Sunday!
Hooray!  ^_____^

0 talk-backs:

Post a Comment