Beam Seen in LHC's CMS Experiment

By Sean Carroll | November 8, 2009 1:36 pm

Mischievous baguette-dropping birds be damned! The LHC had another milestone this weekend, as the CMS experiment detected “splash” events.

Splash at CMS

They’re not quite to the promised land yet (even remembering that the beam energies are a lot lower than we eventually want them to be). A little while ago we had beam traveling through the accelerator, which is obviously a big step. These splash events happen when the beam collides into something “upstream,” creating a splash of particles that are then detected by the experiment. The big step will be when beams moving in opposite directions actually collide with each other inside the detector. I predict you’ll hear soon when that happens.

You can follow CMS at its Facebook fan page. 528 fans, I’m sure we can boost that number.

I already have a bet with Brian Schmidt that we will fine at least 3-sigma evidence for the Higgs within five years (either at Fermilab or the LHC). Feeling pretty optimistic right now.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Higgs, Miscellany
  • Sili


  • loonunit

    Why did Brian make that bet? Fundamental distrust of the standard model?

    • Sean

      Fundamental pessimism of the experimentalist.

  • Jimbo

    Bet all U can on 3sigma evidence for Mh = 128.5 Gev…The CC & inflation demand it.

  • Christopher Ak.

    Hi Sean,
    This comment is irrelevant to the particular post, but I don’t know how else to communicate with you. There’s an interesting article called “Quantum Theory and Beyond: Is Entanglement Special?” by Borivoje Dakic, Caslav Brukner (, that laymen like myself can not hope to decipher. I would like to understand what they say, though.
    Would it be too much trouble to ask you to take a look at it and post your thoughts on it?

  • madcap

    Now witness the power of this fully armed and fully operational battle station!

  • Per


    What does the winner of the bet get?

  • Caleb

    Almost there 😀 Progress!

  • Nameless

    732 fans as of this moment.

  • ObsessiveMathsFreak

    How do the detectors work? Specifically, how do you image the myriad of subatomic particles using macroscopic instruments? I’ve yet to see the definitive blog post on this one.

  • Eunoia

    Oh, crumbs!

  • Sean
  • Arrow

    I am positive Higgs does not exist, I am not so sure it will prevent it’s “discovery” though.

  • Sili

    Nah, Higgs exists. I’ve seen pictures of him and heard him on the radio.

  • Mandeep

    Rockindicular!! i’ve been just ignoring all the positive recent signs, too worried something disastrous is gonna happen again.. and of course, it yet may. but this is an excellent milestone, and the moment that one first has beam collisions at a new collider is one never to be forgotten — i remember the exact day this first happened at BaBar in 1999. ok, we’re still not there yet, but it looks *finally* right over the horizon. and much as this pleases me, i’m quite sure all my friends on the LHC are even more tickled by it. BTSM (whatever that will mean) — watch out, here we humans come!!!

  • Jane

    This is the machine which will invent time travel…..(and this is what they are trying to do, but won’t tell you). In order to travel through time, one must be anti-matter, undetected by both light and black holes. In other words, one must be matter and anti-matter at the same time (or else, travel through an object that is both). Time travellers exist today (UFO’s) and are causing the world to become what it is—controlled by governments! And, your tax dollars are paying for it.

  • Richard Weed

    So does this mean now we are no longer all in the big toe of a green giant but are now in the vacuum cleaner of a Mexican cleaning lady who might stub her toe? Why do physicists and cops think their one liners are funny? Kitchen or the bedroom,Jane…

  • Joe

    Meh. We’ll get really close to finding all the answers, then the funds will get cut. Just like with the superconducting monkey collider.

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Cosmic Variance

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About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] .


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