16th Kaczmarczik Lecture
April 26, 2011
"Exploring Nature Moments after the Big Bang:
The LHC Accelerator and the CMS Experiment"
Dr. Tejinder S. Virdee
Imperial College, London
Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 - 3:00 PM
Main Auditorium, Main Building
3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
The LHC project, comprising the accelerator and the experiments, aims to tackle some of the most fundamental questions about the origin, evolution and composition of our universe. Potential discoveries include new forms of matter, new forces of nature, new dimensions of space and time. Particular questions to be addressed include: what is the origin of mass, what constitutes dark matter, why is the universe composed of matter, not antimatter, and more. The discoveries have the potential to alter our perception of how Nature operates at the fundamental level.
In 2010, the LHC accelerator collided protons and lead ions at unprecedented high energies. Outstanding progress was made in operating the accelerator with very good performance.
The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, one of the two large general-purpose experiments, also performed very well, close to the ambitious design performance set down some fifteen years ago. Physics measurements are confronting, more and more precisely, the predictions of the Standard Model of particle physics, whilst looking for new physics.
CMS is designed to operate in a very harsh environment created by hundreds of billions of particles produced every second, and to register with high accuracy the passage and energies of all these particles. Thus, this demands huge data collection, transfer and processing rates on a scale greater than ever previously attempted. CMS comprises over 3500 scientists and engineers from over 180 institutions in 38 countries.
This talk will briefly recall the physics of the LHC, outline some of the challenges faced during the construction of the accelerator and CMS, their operation and performance, the first physics results, and the outlook.
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