A word from the DG - Major progress for the LHC

The return to work after the summer holiday period has been marked by significant progress in the installation of the LHC machine and its detectors.

At the beginning of the month, the one thousandth superconducting magnet was positioned in the accelerator tunnel. Passing this symbolic milestone is a testament to the successful efforts of the hundreds of LHC collaborators who are working day and night to install the machine in time, and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them.

Despite the significant technical and organisational difficulties associated with different types of activities being carried out in parallel in a tunnel where space is limited, the LHC installation teams have achieved remarkable feats.

As a result, the delays incurred owing to the problems encountered with the cryogenic distribution line in 2004 have been partly recouped. The cryoline is almost complete, with seven out of eight sectors accepted while installation of the eighth is expected to be completed at the end of October. Magnet installation is virtually complete in four of the machine's eight sectors, and good progress has been made on a fifth. By the end of the year, a complete sector of the accelerator will be interconnected before it is cooled down to cryogenic temperature so that it can undergo comprehensive tests. Admittedly, a number of obstacles still have to be overcome, including ensuring the rapid delivery of the collimators, which are essential for cleaning the beam, and of the cryogenic distribution feedboxes, complex components designed to supply power to the machine's magnets. In this context, I am pleased to announce the installation in the tunnel of the first arc cryogenic electrical feedbox (DFBA), which is an important milestone.

On the experiments side, the progress in installing the detectors is plain for all to see. The ALICE, ATLAS and LHCb experiment halls have been filling up in spectacular fashion. The coming weeks will see the detectors achieve several significant milestones towards completion. On this occasion, the CMS teams are to be congratulated on having successfully tested their experiment's gigantic solenoid magnet. On 22 August, a record magnetic field of 4 Tesla was achieved, which corresponds to a current of over 19,000 amperes circulating through the solenoid coil. This significant achievement, the fruit of over 15 years'work involving many institutes and industrial partners, once again demonstrates the validity of the international collaboration model that CERN embodies.

Robert Aymar