UK News from CERN Issue 71

 

Issue 71 contents

Globe of Science and Innovation

Working together

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A new informal working group has been set up to look at how CERN and the UK can improve a range of issues such as the industrial return.

radiation resistant power supply

Lighting the way

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Just like a fridge, you only need the lights on in the LHC tunnel when you’re in there.

E Domnitch and D Gelfand with scientist T Shears and Arts@CERN team

FACT finding

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In a new three-year partnership, the Liverpool-based Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) will be working with Arts@CERN.

Prototype magnets

Hi Lumi shopping list

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Be part of a new chapter in physics discovery, and open up new opportunities for your business.

Meet the masters

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Up and down the UK hundreds of students have been attending Particle Physics Masterclasses.


 

Working together

Globe of Science and Innovation

The Globe of Science and Innovation at night
(Credit: CERN)

 

A new informal working group has been set up to look at how CERN and the UK can improve a range of issues such as the industrial return, number of technical students and fellows, education and outreach opportunities.

This initiative follows a very useful and welcome visit by the new CERN Director-General and all four of her Directors to London early in March.

The UK is a strong supporter of CERN in all its many endeavours, and the working group aims to bolster that relationship. With the DG and her team settling into their new roles, this is an excellent forum to address some of the areas in which the UK could (and should) be enjoying a better return.

The working group brings together senior members of CERN staff and STFC colleagues under the chair of CERN’s Director of Finance and Human Resources, Martin Steinacher. The Scientific Secretary is Ray Veness.

As the remit of the group develops, UK News from CERN will update you on how you can help the UK benefit further from its membership of CERN.

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Lighting the way

James Devine introduces his open source solution for a radiation resistant power supply
(Credit: CERN)

 

Just like a fridge, you only need the lights on in the LHC tunnel when you’re in there; but the emergency lights are part of an essential safety system if you ever need to evacuate.

Fortunately, tunnel evacuations are very rare, but if you work there, you need to know that you can rely on the emergency lighting to guide you to safety.

When the LHC machine is operating, it’s a harsh environment - people are most definitely not allowed access – and the lighting systems need to withstand the effects of radiation to ensure that they will still work when the LHC is switched off and people are allowed back in the tunnel to carry out routine maintenance.

Changes to lighting regulations mean that the current low pressure sodium lighting system which was installed for LEP, the LHC’s predecessor, is becoming obsolete; replacement parts are difficult to find because manufacturers are no longer producing them. CERN needed to find a solution, not just for the 27km LHC tunnel, but for the whole of the accelerator complex.

“We need a mass market solution that’s cheap and available from multiple sources,” explains project engineer, James Devine.

Initially, 10 different products based on LED lamps were tested in a radiation environment; most lasted less than five minutes. The sole survivor was dissected to see how it was made.

“We looked at the way the power converter was made – most LED products use switch mode power supplies which are very sensitive to radiation – but this one used a bridge rectifier,” says James. “That’s basic technology from the early days of electrical engineering.”

Since then, James has been working with two companies (one British, one French) to incorporate this design for a radiation hard power supply into their products. Both companies are specialist suppliers of tunnel lighting, and both manufacture emergency lighting systems. However, neither had produced a product especially for radiation environments.

The new lighting system has been installed at LHC point 7 – radiation-wise, the hottest access point of the accelerator. After two years it is still working well and has been so successful that as the LEP-era lighting fails, it is being replaced with the new system.

James’ design for the power supply has recently been granted funding from CERN’s Knowledge Transfer Fund to enable further development to increase the energy efficiency and extend the lifetime.

The design is now available under the CERN Open Hardware Licence, a licence devised at CERN aiming specifically at facilitating the dissemination of hardware designs. “This means that any manufacturer can use and modify OHL designs freely”, explains Myriam Ayass, legal advisor in the CERN Knowledge Transfer Group and author of the CERN Open Hardware Licence, “and if his modifications are distributed, this must be under the same OHL conditions, thereby fostering competition and innovation in the market place.”

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FACT finding

Artists with scientist T Shears and Arts@CERN team

Artists Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand with scientist Tara Shears and Arts@CERN team Monica Bello and Julian Calo
(Credit: CERN)

 

Art and science are essential elements of the cultural spectrum, but many people identify themselves as a follower of one or the other. In a new three-year partnership, the Liverpool-based Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) will be working with Arts@CERN to deliver the Collide International Award. Any international artist, designer or art collective can propose a project that will creatively collide art, science and technology. Applications are open now.

The award offers a three-month residency – two at CERN and one at University of Liverpool. Tara Shears (Liverpool and LHCb) will be one of the scientists linking the two residencies. She has just been part of a pilot project enabling artists Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand to spend three intense days at CERN as they gathered inspiration for an installation that will be exhibited at FACT Liverpool later this year.

“It’s been eye-opening to see what catches their attention – they’ve been very interested to see how we visualise and interpret what goes on inside the experiments,” says Tara.

Evelina and Dmitry take a very scientific approach to their work, they’re based in a laboratory in Amsterdam where they have a team of scientists and technicians to help them; physics frequently plays a central role in their installations which have included using acoustic waves to levitate slivers of gold. At CERN, they were particularly interested in Quark Gluon Plasma and the concept of the perfect fluid.

“Science and art are both trying to explain and interpret concepts,” says Tara, “they’re both trying to get to some form of understanding and meaning; artists can often provide an accessible visualisation of a very difficult concept.”

The ‘Collide CERN FACT’ partnership will include a broad range of activities such as inter-disciplinary hackathons, arts-science cafes, talks and symposia that will bring together businesses, students, academics and the general public as well as scientists and artists.

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Hi Lumi shopping list

Prototype magnets

Prototype magnets for Hi Lumi
(Credit: CERN)

 

Be part of a new chapter in physics discovery, and open up new opportunities for your business with the High Luminosity LHC upgrade project.

Hi Lumi is an ambitious project to increase the number of LHC particle collisions by a factor of 10. The potential for new physics is huge, but this won’t be achieved without industry and there are lots of opportunities to get involved.

A new website has been launched to help businesses identify how they can meet specific requirements within each of the Hi Lumi work packages. At a glance, you can see where capabilities such as precision machining, ultra high vacuum or magnet assembly will be required. But these are just three of the activity areas – there are lots more.

The CERN procurement system can be complex, and that’s why STFC has a team of Industrial Liaison Officers to provide help and advice; we want you to add CERN to your customer list so why not take a look at the Hi Lumi shopping list?

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Meet the masters

Particle Physics masterclasses
(Credit: STFC)

 

Up and down the UK hundreds of students have been attending Particle Physics Masterclasses at many of the institutes that are involved in experiments at CERN.

More than 850 sixth form students from 60 schools attended STFC’s Particle Physics Masterclasses at Daresbury Laboratory and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) during March. These one-day events aim to inspire AS and A-level physics students by showcasing big science projects in the UK and around the world.

The discovery of the Higgs boson has captured the imagination of a generation of young people and the Masterclasses aim to capitalise on this enthusiasm by highlighting career opportunities in this exciting field.

The events included talks on particle accelerators, the fundamentals of particle physics, the Large Hadron Collider and applications of particle accelerators. Students participated in hands-on computing exercises involving real data collected by particle physics detectors, and toured experiments, including ALICE, ISIS and Diamond.

Particle Physics Masterclasses are hosted by universities and laboratories across the country throughout the year as part of an international programme.

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