LHC to be inaugurated on 21 October 2008

Physicists prepare for the inauguration of the LHC at the CERN Control Centre (Image: CERN)

Geneva, 2 October 2008. Following the successful circulation of first beam in the LHC on 10 September, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instrument will be officially inaugurated at CERN1 on 21 October 2008. Representatives of the governments of CERN’s Member and Observer States and other participating nations have been invited.

The LHC's start-up day went very smoothly, with the first beam being threaded around the ring to great acclaim in just under one hour.

"It's remarkable how quickly the LHC went through its paces on 10 September," said LHC project leader Lyn Evans, "and testimony to the rigorous preparation that has gone into building and commissioning the LHC."

After ten days of operation, the LHC is now on stand-by. A fault in one of its eight sectors is under investigation, which requires warming up the sector from -271 Celsius to room temperature. This will take several weeks, after which the repair can be made and the sector cooled down. The warm-up and investigation phases will take us into November, when the CERN's entire research infrastructure, including all particle accelerators and experiments, is shut down for annual maintenance until spring 2009. The LHC will then restart when the injector complex is ready.

"CERN personnel and colleagues from around the world have reacted to the current situation with their customary professionalism and determination," said CERN Director General Robert Aymar. "While the timing is undoubtedly a disappointment, a few extra weeks on a project that has been over two decades in the making is not very much. It is simply a fact of life in experimental physics at the frontiers of knowledge and technology."

The inauguration ceremony, which is by invitation only, will consist of speeches, exhibitions and a new audiovisual concert, "ORIGINS", an adaptation of "LIFE: A Journey Through Time", featuring the imagery of National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting and the music of Philip Glass, performed by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Carolyn Kuan. It will be followed by a buffet of molecular gastronomy presented by Chef Ettore Bocchia. The event has been made possible thanks to the generous support of a range of sponsoring companies and organizations, most of which have contributed to the construction of the LHC. It will be followed by a party for the CERN personnel. Full details here.

Footnote(s)

1. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.

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