UK News from CERN Issue 57


Almost ready for the restart

Compilation of some of the improvements done at the LHC during the LS1
(Credit: 2015 CERN)

After almost two years of maintenance and consolidation, the LHC is almost ready for the restart. As excitement builds, take a look at the final preparations.

Expert performance

The first four UK-built magnets for SESAME are ready to be put through their paces.

If you’re building a brand new, world class science facility, it makes sense to use the best international help and advice available. CERN’s considerable expertise in designing particle accelerator magnets, together with a UK company’s skill in manufacturing them are being combined to deliver the highest quality magnets for the new SESAME light source based in Jordan.

(Credit: Tesla)

CESSAMag is an EC-funded project that is enabling CERN to contribute both magnets and power supplies to the SESAME project (see UKNFC 22). The 17 dipole magnets that SESAME will use to bend its beam of electrons around the synchrotron is the single biggest contract within the CESSAMag project.

”The magnet design was started by the team at SESAME and finalised here at CERN,” explains Attilio Milanese (CERN). “We’re also looking after the tendering process and the management of the manufacturing contract. The dipoles are complex components and the quality of the manufacturing will have a direct impact on the performance of the SESAME machine. Not many companies in Europe can do this kind of job.”

Following a competitive tendering process, Sussex-based specialists, Tesla won the contract to build all 17 dipoles.

The first magnet was delivered in November 2014. Stringent tests at CERN and at the ALBA synchrotron in Barcelona demonstrated that the field quality of the dipole was very good, with a homogeneity within 0.01%.

But that was just the first magnet and Tesla now has to deliver 16 more with a consistent quality and within schedule. They’re being manufactured and delivered in four batches of four.

A key part of the success is down to Tesla’s relationships with its own suppliers as Marc van Leusen, General Manager of the Tesla Magnet Division, explains, “We’re using the same batch of steel for all the magnets, but we need to limit the amount of material that we have on site. The steel sheets that we’re using have an adhesive coating, but the coating has a limited shelf life so it couldn’t all be done in advance and stored.”

In addition, the shape of the magnet means the lamination has to be punched as one part to meet the very tight tolerances required by the magnet design. “We also have very good suppliers for the precision punching and machining,” says Marc. “They have delivered to within 30 microns over the 2m length of the magnet.”

Tesla has made plenty of magnets before, including for CERN, but it has never manufactured such precision on a curved magnet, or a magnet of this length. The team hopes that this current project could open up new opportunities.

“What we do for CERN is very public and it enables other people to see what we can deliver,” says Simon Pittard, Managing Director of the Tesla Magnet Division. “Working with CERN has definitely benefited Tesla in winning business in other adjacent market sectors such as medical and semi-conductor.”

As the first batch of magnets arrives in Barcelona for testing, work is in full swing in Sussex on the next batch, with the order due to be completed by Autumn 2015.

“It’s always interesting working with CERN,” says Simon, “We see ourselves as a partner, not a supplier- it helps us to stay at the forefront of technology.”

For more information about working with CERN, or to join the supplier database, check out the Tender Opportunities webpage.

TV challenge

With the LHC restart just a couple of weeks away, CERN has been hosting last minute visits from lots of different media organisations.

Martin and Sudan underground at CMS
(Credit: S Hills)

Print, radio and TV channels have been contacting the Press Office to arrange visits and make sure that they have all the material that they need to make the LHC restart a headline story.No less than three BBC crews have been out; Tom Feilden from the Radio 4 Today Programme, David Shukman from BBC TV News, and probably most challenging of all, CBBC Newsround.

Newsround’s target audience is 6–8 year olds and explaining the wonder of the LHC and the importance of the Higgs boson becomes quite tricky when words such as mass or proton won’t be understood.

“Talking to a younger audience was a challenging experience!” says interviewee Sudan Paramesvaran (Bristol and CMS). “It really made me realise how many words and phrases we take for granted when explaining what we do here - it was really interesting to think of ways to explain the concepts of what we do here at CERN, and how particle detectors work - to children.”

Fortunately, presenter Martin Dougan and producer/cameraman Andy Hall know their audience well and were able to fine tune Sudan’s explanation of CMS and what the experiment hopes to find in Run 2.

“We used analogies to everyday devices as much as possible so the children can picture something they understand,” explains Sudan.“In fact, I think it will also help me in interviews for older audiences, as some of the ways we used to explain CERN, and CMS, would be beneficial to all age groups.”

“I recently did an interview for ITV News, but I think I found the Newsround one the most difficult, but in some ways also the most rewarding. I watched Newsround every day when I was young, and think it’s really a fantastic programme. It would be great if younger audiences can understand what we’re doing here, and maybe even excite them enough to become interested in physics!”

Look out for lots of UK media coverage in the week beginning 23 March when the LHC restarts!

Vote for the Lego LHC

The LHC may be the world’s largest particle accelerator, but a PhD student has just recreated it in miniature.

Lego LHC
(Credit: CERN / N Readioff)

Nathan Readioff (Liverpool and ATLAS) has combined his passion for particle physics with his love of Lego, and now he’s looking for your vote to persuade Lego to put his idea into production.

Nathan’s design replicates the ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb experiments which make up the LHC.The design uses common Lego pieces to showcase the four detectors, using cutaway walls to reveal all of the major subsystems.

“I was inspired after seeing a large model of ATLAS designed by Dr Sascha Mehlhase, which uses more than 9,500 pieces and takes about 35 hours to construct (see UKNFC 39),” explains Nathan.“I have always been a Lego fan and I wanted to take things to the other extreme by building the smallest possible ATLAS detector.”

But a micro ATLAS was just the start.

“After I had designed the ATLAS detector I was inspired to make the other three detectors to complete the set. I have even designed miniature models of the dipole magnets used in the LHC to build a representative accelerator ring.”

Each detector model is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but crammed with detailed internal systems revealed by cutaway walls - every major detector component is represented by a Lego piece. The models are not strictly in scale with each other, but use the same size base to maximise the detail that can be included and give a more uniform look to the set. The colour schemes have been chosen to highlight each subsystem, but also to reflect the colours seen on official diagrams and on the real detectors themselves.

Nathan’s kit also includes easy-to-use instruction booklets which provide a step by step guide to making the miniatures, together with short summaries of how their real-life counterparts work and what they are used to study.

He has submitted his LHC models to the Lego Ideas website where proposals submitted by members of the public which attract over 10,000 votes are considered by Lego for future production. And now he needs your help.

To support Nathan’s Lego proposal, visit his Lego Ideas page and vote for him.

If you can’t wait for Nathan’s micro LHC to reach the shops and you want to build one for yourself right now, check out this website for complete instruction manuals and part lists.

Inspiring Welsh teachers

Sixteen teachers have spent part of their half-term back in the classroom. They have been taking part in a special edition of the CERN teacher programme arranged specifically for Welsh teachers.

Welsh teachers
(Credit: A Little)

The four-day trip was funded by the Welsh Government through the Qualified for Life: Focus on Science campaign, and arranged by the National Science Learning Centre. The programme featured lectures, visits and hands-on workshops, most of which were delivered by members of the Welsh community at CERN including Lyn Evans, who was the Project Leader for the LHC.

The aim is that the teachers will return to Wales as ambassadors, inspiring the next generation of physicists, engineers and IT specialists, and encouraging colleagues to participate in future teacher development courses at CERN.

Speaking before the visit, Welsh Assembly Education Minister, Huw Lewis said “I’ve no doubt that the teachers will learn a great deal at CERN which will be translated into new, innovative teaching practices when they return to the classroom and I’m sure that their pupils will be equally inspired. Who knows – some of them may follow in Lyn’s footsteps and go on to be world-leading scientists.”

Darren Price (Manchester and ATLAS) was one of the researchers who worked with the teachers, “For me this was a valuable opportunity to make links with schools in Wales that traditionally do not have the luxury of close contacts with particle physics research groups in universities and labs. I want to get across the incredible things that are being done here, and figure out with the teachers what can be done to get students at the critical ‘GCSE-into-A-Level’ stage engaged and excited about cutting edge scientific research and how to integrate this into the classroom.

“This is very personal to me, as despite now having a career in particle physics, when I was at school in Port Talbot the physics syllabus was seemingly very disconnected from what was going on at the frontiers of research, and had very little depth. I barely had any idea of how physics was being used, and crucially, that it was possible for a student from South Wales to be a part of that (and even what 'that' was!).”

Ian Gow from Milford Haven School would definitely encourage other teachers to take part in the CERN Teacher Programme, “It’s been a fantastic experience! You read about CERN but seeing it at first hand is eye-opening; the way people work together – you can see it and feel it, it’s all around you!”

You can hear more about the Welsh teacher programme with Science Café from BBC Wales and read more about Welsh involvement at CERN in UKNFC 23 in English or in Welsh.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000