Prepared for first physics

The 2009 start-of-run has allowed the LHC experiments to do some remarkable things. All the detectors are performing according to specifications; the turnaround time to analyse data is strikingly short; and real and simulated data agree impressively well. Above all, they have started to nourish the enthusiasm of the wide community of physicists – in particular young people – with long anticipated real data.

This is just the beginning but we can now look to the New Year with anticipation and confidence. The first months of 2010 will allow us to rediscover phenomena already known to scientists - the so-called Standard Model physics. This is a necessary starting point in the search for new physics. If Nature has put some riches within our reach, then there is a chance that we might see the first signs by the end of the year (for example, supersymmetry). However, one of the main goals of the 2010 run remains the observation of the top quark, which was first observed at Fermilab in the USA in 1995 but which has not yet been observed in Europe.

The collected luminosity of the 2010 run at 3.5 TeV per beam will allow CERN’s experiments to amass a number of top quarks that is competitive with what the Tevatron’s experiments have collected so far. Moreover, the measurement of the cross-section and the study of the top quark production mechanism will allow all the experiments to fine-tune their performances in preparation for claiming signals from new physics.

The New Year opens a new phase for the whole laboratory: when the machine reaches a stable phase with high-energy collisions routinely produced, the eyes of the world will turn towards the experiments and to their large communities of scientists spread all over the world who will exploit and analyse the data. The role of CERN will adapt to this transition, although the main goal will stay the same as we ensure that the entire infrastructure behind the experiments works properly and effectively. As CERN prepares for the new phase we can safely say that we are more than ready for it.

All my best wishes to all CERNois for a scientifically exciting 2010!

Sergio Bertolucci,
Director for Research and Computing