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U.S. LHC Communications Weekly Report

U.S. LHC Communications and Media Relations: Sarah Charley (FNAL)

May 2, 2016

Recent and Upcoming Projects/Activities


April 23: Chief of Cyber Security for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Dr. Phyllis Schneck (personal tour; not an official CERN visit.)

April 25: URA director Marta Cehelsky (Protocol Office visit)


May 12: Dr. Vaughan Turekian, Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State (Protocol Office visit; only 2 hours long)

May 26-27: Discovery News with Trace Dominguez (media visit)

Mid June: CNN international, “Make, Create, Innovate” (media visit)


(Symmetry) How it's made: LHC data

Article about raw LHC data and the process physicists use to extract information and prepare it for scientific analysis. (Publishing date TBD)

(Ask Symmetry) What's the difference between ATLAS and CMS?

Ask Symmetry animated video explaining why the LHC has 2 similar experiments and what their differences are (featuring Prof. Tulika Bose).

(Symmetry) LHC data at your fingertips

(April 22) CMS makes 300 terabytes of CMS data available online (Republished from CMS's website; written by Achintya Rao).

(Symmetry) Successful Magnet test for HL-LHC

(April 7) U.S. LARP and CERN co-produced magnet prototypes for the HL-LHC, which are currently being tested at Fermilab.

  • Communications training courses: The next course will be June 7. If you know someone who is interested in attending let me know.
  • University outreach: I'm in contact with several lead scientists and helping them write research-specific pitches for their University Press offices. We'll also be covering some of this research in Symmetry over the summer.
  • Physics Game: I'm working with a group of graduate students who are creating a particle-physics themed game. The first two levels are completed. We plan to have a rough prototype by June and the final version around the end of the summer.
Media Highlights

Weasel shuts down LHC

Early Friday morning a weasel (specifically, a beech marten) chewed through a 66,000-volt transformer, causing a power cut on the site. The media coverage of this story has been huge (originally reported on NPR):

(April 29) NPR News: Weasel Apparently Shuts Down World's Most Powerful Particle Collider
(April 29) Science Magazine: Pop! goes the Large Hadron Collider — and the weasel
(April 29) ABC News: World's Largest Atom Smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, Reportedly Shut Down by Rodent
(April 29) Slate: One Lone Weasel Grinds the World's Most Powerful Particle Collider to a Halt
(April 29) BBC News: Large Hadron Collider: Weasel causes shutdown

(and ~200 more)

According to the CERN press office, this will likely be the biggest LHC story this spring (and will probably surpass any “first physics” coverage by miles.)

CMS released 300 Terabytes of data through the CMS open data portal:

CMS recently made 300 Terabytes of data available to the public through CMS's open data portal. Here are

(April 23) Gizmodo: CERN Just Dropped 300 Terabytes of Raw Collider Data to the Internet
(April 23) Engadget: CERN opens access to 300TB of Large Hadron Collider data
(April 23) Tech Crunch: CERN releases 300TB of Large Hadron Collider data into open access

What could that bump be?

The 750 GeV bump coverage is dying down but interest is still high. BBC will be filming at CERN asking people about the bump and NOVA wants to give some scientists cameras to record “video diaries” about the bump during the summer. There's also still some lingering coverage:

Large Hadron Collider Anomaly Inspires a Zoo of Theories
(April 20) Scientific American article distilling what the 750 GeV bump could be into 4 groups of theories.

Also in…
(April 29) Science News: Theorists perplexed by hints of unexpected new particle
(May 2) Science Alert: Hints of an unexpected new particle are getting stronger