Friday, 1 April 2011

April Fools'11: ATLAS or CMS? One of them must leave!











The astonishing rumor that has been circulating since two weeks turned out to be true. The CERN management has decided that either ATLAS or CMS will be taken out of operation as of September 2011. Which of these two detectors will be scrapped is going to be decided next week during a special session of the CERN Council. In an email sent yesterday evening to CERN staff members CERN Director General Rolf Heuer explains:
"This was a very difficult decision to make. However, we are going through difficult times and radical steps could not be avoided. In the current budgetary situation we simply cannot afford running two experiments with identical physics goals and similar detection capabilities."
Makes sense, at first glance. CERN is seriously indebted and some austerity measures need to be implemented. Nevertheless, laying off over three thousand researchers seems exorbitant at this point. Here at CERN it is not a secret that this decision was prompted by the growing animosity between the ATLAS and CMS collaborations which is seriously disrupting the LHC operation.

The relations between these 2 experiments have always been strained but they further deteriorated last winter with the arrival of the results from the 2010 run. The spark that triggered the conflict was the fact that the constraints on supersymmetry from ATLAS were systematically more stringent than those from CMS. For laymen it may appear irrelevant whether a 800 GeV gluino is excluded at 95% or at 91% confidence level, but for particle physics experiments these numbers are of primary importance. Consequently, CMS accused ATLAS of using dirty statistical tricks to boost the significance of their result. From that point it all went downhill, and almost every day brought new incidents, such as leaking of hacked ATLAS emails, a bug found in the CMS control room, a libel lawsuit against the ATLAS spokesperson, etc. But the most serious incident happened 2 weeks ago during the Moriond'11 conference in a hotel resort in the Italian Alps. What started as a benign discussion about the missing energy resolution turned into a regular fist fight involving a dozen members of ATLAS and CMS; all that happening in front of terrified tourists and local villagers. Although nobody got seriously hurt, that incident was probably the last straw, and the CERN management decided to put an end to the conflict in the most drastic way.

Now, what will happen to the thousands of researchers who often devoted their entire careers to the experiment? Hopefully, a number of them will be allowed to join LHCb or ALICE who will surely welcome additional manpower. Furthermore, CERN Director General promised that many of those laid off this year will be rehired in 2013 to help training the superconducting magnets, which will be the vital step in the preparations for the energy upgrade in 2014.

Update: This post is of course an April Fools' joke. The research at the LHC proceeds in the spirit of friendly competition. That means, there hasn't been any fist fights between ATLAS and CMS, so far ;-)

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

I knew it would come to this. Sad, but there was no other choice.

Well Informed said...

You're not well informed. It's been already decided that CMS will vanish.

Better Informed said...

I heard the opposite thing: CMS stays, ATLAS goes.

frenkeld said...

April 1st arrives in Europe before North America.

Best Informed... said...

Actually they realized they didn't need full coverage in eta and phi, and LHCb was financially the best option to keep. B used to be for b physics, now it is better known as LHC plan B.

Steve said...

I've been told they both must go. It's kinda sad, really really sad. :(

Steve said...

But what really makes me happy is Peter's change in direction. Now when my wife talks about my muffin tops I will check out what Peter's baking.

Anonymous said...

I say, shut them both down, do it all with simulations. They're more accurate anyways.

agri said...

Poisson d'avril

Efty said...

Off-topic: what do people think of ElBillug et al's new explanation of "the hump" as due to dark-matter super-chemistry? What a time for detectors to be closing!

Anonymous said...

I've heard that they're both going. Instead they'll convert the LHC to a giant velodrome.

Anonymous said...

The latest is that both are going.

Anonymous said...

The date is April 1-st.
Say no more...

Rastus Odinga Odinga said...

Jeez... not only is physics going downhill these days, but so are the April 1 jokes...

Mahdi said...

so unbelievable...April Fools' Day?!!

Anonymous said...

This has to be an April Fool's prank.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure there are already plenty of bugs in the ATLAS control room (at least of a soft variety)

High Horse said...

The LHCb righteous will not accept the help of the general purpose pig dogs. May their stomachs roast in hell.

Daniel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Very, very sad indeed. I am slightly puzzled by the link though - it seems to point to the ATLAS Fast Track Simulation note. Could you comment?

chris said...

i heard they will collide two very low luminosity beams and the experiment that sees the first collision will stay.

there is a paper by Holger Nielsen that suggests that only this one detector will be able to see sypersymmetric particles.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, D0 is angling to make use of the soon to be free experimental halls...

Anonymous said...

Two experiments enter. One experiment leaves.

Anonymous said...

hmmm .... If I remember well, we are the 1st of April ...

Anonymous said...

"What started as a benign discussion about the missing energy resolution turned into a regular fist fight" - that sounds like any collaboration meeting, it's not a reason to close an experiment.

Luboš Motl said...

I was told that the CMS will be eliminated. The reason is that this experiment has been harboring Tommaso Dorigo, a blogger.

Once this was noticed by Rolf Heuer, the CERN director general, they didn't hesitate.

See Dorigo's blog. He quit blogging and, fortunately, will be arrested tomorrow.

Thank God, and best wishes to ATLAS

Cheers
LM

Anonymous said...

1st of April indeed :)

Anonymous said...

In fact, the reality is that US Government decided to support LHC experiments financially and upgrade Tevatron. That's what is not said publicly.

Anonymous said...

no way, it's just april fool's day

Daniele said...

1 April?

xD

Anonymous said...

Two Experiments: But which one's best? There's only one way to find out...FIGHT!

Harry Hill.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, it was shown in Moriond that the thousands of physicists working at CERN could be replaced by one large neural net, so I guess this is just the first step... The other experiments will be removed soonafter....

Alex said...

The inofficial plan is to dig out the whole LHC in one piece and move it to Fermilab once Tevatron shuts down. The current dispute about ATLAS or CMS shutdown is a preparative measure just to make people happy when both continue operation in the US.

Anonymous said...

Indeed long lines of vehicles formed at the Swiss-France border since this morning. They are likely CERN scientists who try to return in France. They fear to be arrested by Swiss authorities because they don't have anymore a residence permit

Anonymous said...

1st of April?

Saeed said...

April Fools
Or
poisson d'avril.

Enjoy your selves

aaron said...

Why is all the traffic on this dated April 1st?

Anonymous said...

Can't they just collide the two machines together and see what's left?

Anonymous said...

I'm writing from deep within the US CMS group war bunker...It's already too late for ATLAS. We've used our 2nd Amendment rights to obtain large stockpiles of weaponry and have transferred it to CERN. The insurrection is coming.

Chris said...

It's now been confirmed that ATLAS is to become a children's adventure playground with the addition of a waterfall and a pirate ship, and CMS is to become part of the Pompidou Centre for modern art.

Vladimir said...

I think this is reasonable. ATLAS must leave, I don't like ATLAS's logo.
Bye bye, atlaser's )))

Anonymous said...

This may not be an April Fool's joke. Many people who work for ATLAS and CMS visit Lubos Motl's blog, which is a hub for hateful, sexist, ad hominem attacks and insults against people he chooses. It's possible these visitors to his blog are being inspired by Lubos' posts.

Tommaso Dorigo said...

Adam, you had me LOL'ling all the way!

Lubos, if CMS is dismantled I don't mind taking a vacation, even behind bars !

Cheers,
T.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Ha Ha!

tulpoeid said...

I've always liked your humour. But now I think I'm in love.