Protons are the brave casualties in the search for new physics, but sometimes everybody lives.
The CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC), history’s largest and most energetic proton collider, is currently being tuned up for another round of new discoveries. A Higgs boson, incredibly rare B meson decays, and evidence for vector boson fusion have already been identified, so there is great anticipation on what we may find during Run II.
Our discoveries, however, come at the cost of protons. During 2012, the ATLAS, CMS, and LHCb experiments collected a combined 48 fb-1 (48 “inverse femtobarns“), and another 12 fb-1 in 2011. To translate, an “inverse femtobarn” is a measure of proton collisions and is the equivalent of 70 trillion proton-proton collisions. Hence, 60 fb-1 is equivalent to about 4,200 trillion proton-proton collisions, or 8,400 trillion protons. We hope to generate almost twice as much data per year when everything starts back up winter/spring 2015. You know, suddenly, @LHCproton‘s many fears of its day job make sense:
Proton casualty rate in the #LHC already exceeding anything we endured in 2010. #science is a cruel mistress.
— LHC Proton (@LHCproton) March 23, 2011
With so many protons spent in the ...