We’re sure that you, like most of the first world, were abounding with endless excitement last night as the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland began to collide protons at energies too obscene for publication in this blog (and that’s saying something). But in the midst of all your geeky late-night pizza parties, you may have forgotten Berkeley’s own participation in the events leading up to a world record-breaking experiment.

Exhibit 1) The above photo, of the “ATLAS Pixel Support Structure Assembly team.” What is ATLAS? Simply put, and according to the description on the image’s page, ATLAS’s “primary purpose … will be studies of the origin of mass at the electroweak scale, therefore the detector has been designed for sensitivity to the largest possible Higgs mass range.” Obviously. So basically, ATLAS is a particle detector that will be analyzing the information from the LHC—the heart of which was built by a Berkeley team.

Exhibit 2) The ALICE experiment, another detector and main part of the LHC saga. Berkeley will host ALICE once the LHC moves on from smashing protons to “heavy ions meant to produce a quark-gluon plasma.”

But the best part? Berkeley scientists “contributed major components of the accelerator systems that focus the counter-rotating beams of protons.” If that’s not the badassiest piece of science you’ve heard, we don’t know what is.

Image Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under Creative Commons
Bay Area’s Berkeley Lab Plays a Major Role as the Large Hadron Collider Enters the Realm of New Physics [LBNL]


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