The Fun Begins As The ATLAS Experiment At The Large Hadron Collider Officially Begins Collecting Data

With the ATLAS Experiment beginning its final Run 2 operation this year, more data than ever is set to be collected, including further exploratory work on the Higgs boson.

The ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider begins collecting new data this year.
Martial Trezzini / AP Images

With the ATLAS Experiment beginning its final Run 2 operation this year, more data than ever is set to be collected, including further exploratory work on the Higgs boson.

Exciting work has begun at the Large Hadron Collider as the ATLAS Experiment officially began collecting data once again on April 28. With this year set to be the final one for ATLAS’ Run 2 operation as well as the 13 TeV harvesting of data, the LHC will be taking a rest in 2019 for a major upgrade.

Now, however, the ATLAS Experiment will be working hard to collect as much data as possible for physicists to study, and according to CERN it is hoped that the data this year will be double what it was previously.

With the LHC’s imminent shutdown next year, physicists will have a wealth of information to study from both this year and and the entirety of the Large Hadron Collider’s run, as CERN’s Karl Jakobs explained.

“The size and scope of the Run 2 dataset gives it extraordinary potential. Many searches for new particles have – so far – been limited by statistics. But the scale of this full dataset means the potential for discovery is there, though it will take time to carry out in-depth searches for the most complex scenarios.”

If you’re wondering about the Higgs boson, this year’s run may potentially see information come to light regarding more rare decays, and it is important to remember that the discovery of the Higgs boson took decades of hard work by physicists, with further exploratory work to continue.

“The excellent performance of ATLAS has allowed us to make great strides in the area of precision physics. Take, for example, the fantastic measurement of the W boson mass published earlier this year. This success is indicative of the LHC’s potential not just for discovery, but for extraordinary precision. Future analyses will continue to focus on measurements of such fundamental Standard Model parameters.”

Even though this year will see the conclusion of Run 2 at the Large Hadron Collider, the real work has only just begun. For instance, what new discoveries might we be seeing this year or in the many years to come? And will upcoming collisions at the LHC agree with the Standard Model or might they differ?

If you’re sad about the 2019 shutdown of the ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, this will be serving a purpose for the greater good and much work will go into the LHC to enhance it, making future discoveries all the more possible, according to physicist Lauren Tompkins.

“One of our primary goals will be upgrading our trigger and data acquisition system, which allows us to select the collisions we want to record and analyze. During the shutdown, we will be adding new capabilities that will allow us to include more criteria in the trigger’s decision-making processes. By improving the selection process of our data, ATLAS will be able to save more Higgs bosons and study more new physics scenarios.”

With the ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider busily collecting data now, stay tuned for future announcements from CERN as you never know what discoveries may be just around the corner.