The Large Hadron Collider is the particle accelerator, a 27-km underground “racetrack” that will create the proton-proton collisions. The LHC forms the backbone of the ATLAS project, one of four experiments slated for the collider.
The LHC is operated by CERN, the European particle physics lab in Geneva. Canada, via the UBC-based TRIUMF facility, has contributed about $40 million to building the LHC.
At the point where the protons will collide, the ATLAS detector has been installed. It’s a five-storey tall “camera” that will measure and monitor the rare particle tracks and other information produced in the billionth of a second after each collision.
NSERC, the Canadian science and engineering research-funding agency has allocated about $30 million to ATLAS since 1992. Some $4 million of that funding came to UVic, where key feedthrough components of the detector were designed and built in the Physics Department. Six UVic faculty members, three post-doctoral students and usually about four grad students are involved in the ATLAS experiment.
Several physics alumni are also involved in ATLAS, including Prof. Brigitte Vachon, PhD ’02, a Canada Research Chair-holder at McGill.
When Protons Collide | The Power of
| The Racetrack
and the Camera