My very first post

This is my very first post on my new blog, so I’ll start with a story I wrote from here in Geneva on November 20. I’m the editor of a magazine put out by CERN (motto: No black holes yet!)

Midnight in the LHC control room

Today, this column honors . . .  the Twitter feed at CERN, which allowed us to follow the progress of the Large Hadron Collider restart from the comfort of home on an extremely dark and foggy evening, when the beam was captured at close to midnight, Geneva time. (Apparently, we weren’t the only ones paying attention to this event; the LHC “tweets” were one of the top five most popular items in Twitter-land.)

You could sense the building excitement, as the posts came in more and more frequently.  See the sequence below. (The time stamps are approximate.)

2 hours ago
“Just one sector to go now!”

2 hours ago
“We have completed the ring!”

1.5 hours ago
“We will start injecting the anticlockwise beam in the second ring and then go step–by–step again. New photos will soon be available.”

1.25 hours ago
“Teams are working to improve beam quality before injecting in the anticlockwise direction. Beam 1 has made several turns around the LHC.”

1.25 hours ago
“New photos available. They include the very first moments of the completion of the first circle.”

1 hour ago
“Beam 1 has made more than 500 turns of the LHC. The beam orbit is improving fast.”

50 minutes ago
“Decision was made to first capture beam 1 and then go for injection of beam 2. To do so, we will soon switch on the cavities.”

45 minutes ago
“Cavities are switched on! We will wait for a good beam quality before attempting to capture it.”

30 minutes ago
“We have captured it! First circulating beam of 2009!”

25 minutes ago
“Now it goes fast: 100,000 turns!”

20 minutes ago
“10,000,000 turns!”

How tweet it is!

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