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June 09, 2009


Today, at last, we have started to put current in the 28-km ring we managed to break last year. We have done it quietly, in silent, almost in secret. We will never forget the picture someone took in the tunnel almost two years ago where a hundred of people tried to fit their smiling faces in a little control room just after we put 10 Amps in a tinny magnet not bigger than my wrist. Today we made hundreds of Amps run along two magnets weighting seveal tones and bigger than my Micra, in the picture only three faces: Mirko, Matteo and myself. But still smiling. We won´t have the media looking at us and each success wont be followed by a "well done!" but by a ¨hurry up!". We have to do everything again, it will be boring and tiring, stressing and unexciting but we´ll try to keep the smile and this damned machine will see those protons running again by fall.
The morning was pretty hard: the same problems again, the same dissapointments, the same rushes of last year. At the begining of the afternoon, while I was trying to convince a technician not to step into the tunnel unless he wanted to get hurted (by me) I looked at one of my colleagues, he had spent the morning in front of a console fighting against some stupid bug in a code which is supposed to help us with the analysis of the tests. There are one million things that have to perfectly fit to put those Amps in the magnets, and those code lines are one of them. He hadn´t had lunch and in his face one could see that he was not going to have dinner either. Suddenly he made a very small move, almost instinctively. It was like if not even him noticed, but he did it.
For a moment he moved his eyes down from the screen and while puting his hands together, he played for some seconds, milliseconds, with his wedding ring. And then, I swear to god, he smiled. Not a tired or helpless smile but a warm and powerful one. It´s not difficult to understand that his mind forgot for some seconds that computer bug and focused on something that happened not many hours ago in a place not far from our control room or, even better, on something that he knew would happen in some hours in that same place, much less populated than hour dear CCC but for sure much more exciting.
Although the only ring I have to take care about is the LHC, some people ask me from time to time which is my idea of the real utility of that smaller ring.
The smile of my colleague would be my only answer.

Posted by antonio at June 9, 2009 09:46 PM