Monday, January 31, 2011

LHC will run at 2x 3.5 TeV in 2011, 2012

Today, the CERN folks have officially announced the verdict decided by their recent proceedings in Chamonix (picture above):
CERN announces LHC to run in 2012 (press release)
The beam energy won't be raised from 3.5 TeV to 4 TeV as previously speculated. Also, the LHC won't be stopped at the end of 2011. Instead, it will continue to run in 2012, too.

On December 21st, 2012, CERN will invite a Mayan engineer, Dr Nostradamus, to play with the device for the last time and to turn everything off. This final procedure will stop all the suffering in this world, too. That's why I don't have to tell you that the plan from 2014 would be to continue at 2x 7 TeV. ;-)

The justification of the previously unplanned run in 2012 - namely that "they won't get enough data for a discovery in 2011" - either means that they're saying arbitrary things - because no one knows how many femtobarns one will actually need to discover what Nature is still hiding - or it means that they actually have a rather quantitative clue already what to expect and what its mass is - but we haven't been told yet.

I find the latter option somewhat unlikely because if 45/pb were already enough to see convincing hints what to expect, less than 1/fb (the minimum plan for 2011) would almost surely be enough to discover it at 5 sigma.

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