The Large Hadron Collider

2014, Don Lincoln, Fermi Labs and U. Notre Dame

I rarely read a book in one sitting, but I spent half of today on this one. For a technical person, this is easy reading. I can pretend to understand a little about what a friend working at LHC does for a living.

Chapter 3 is a cursory overview of the nuts and bolts of the LHC ring, Chapter 4 "Incredible Detectors" is, well, incredible, and Chapter 5 "Teething Pains and Triumphs" is about debugging a mixed-signal "circuit" the size of Los Angeles. Same old analogies about particle symmetries to explain them to doofuses like us, but also some history of how the oft-repeated analogies came about.

The amusingly named "Compact Muon Solenoid" weighs 14,000 tons (more than a World War 2 Independence-class aircraft carrier), with the size limited by the diameter of a superconducting solenoid that had to fit between the buildings of a French town straddling the road from the seaport. It contains hundreds of kilograms of integrated circuit sensors.

The 15x24 meter CMS is dwarfed by the 21x45 meter ATLAS, another half-billion dollar instrument designed to measure a billion collisions per second. The book does not provide a complete description, but points at more detailed sources.

This is the first popular book about LHC I've read that dwells on instrumentation, construction, and measurements rather than hyperbole about the particles themselves. There are plenty of amusing "war stories".

HadronCollider (last edited 2015-01-09 00:17:36 by KeithLofstrom)