Large Hadron Collider to continue running through 2012
After a week of discussions in Chamonix, the new running schedule for the LHC was announced today.
Every January the people who built and run the Large Hadron Collider at CERN gather, up the valley in Chamonix, to review the past year and plan the future.
Then CERN management decide what to do next. The decision was just announced. The LHC will run through 2011 and 2012, rather than shutting down for more than a year at the end of 2011 as previously planned. This is great news for those of us currently having fun with data - we will get much more.
The beam energy will stay at 3.5 Tera-electron-volts (TeV). There had been discussion that this might increase slightly, but this won't happen during 2011, though it may later. For some analyses this is a mild disappointment, but for most the extra data more than make up for this. Steve Myers, head of the project, reckons we should get a factor of three increase in the rate of collisions. This is likely to be enough to get that damned elusive Higgs boson if it's there. I'll write a more detailed post soon about the prospects.
After the run through 2012 there will be a long shutdown so that we can go up to 7 TeV per beam around 2014.