Geneva, 23 June 2006. First collisions in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will happen in November 2007, said LHC project leader Lyn Evans at the 137th meeting of the CERN Council held in Geneva today. A two month run in 2007, with beams colliding at an energy of 0.9 TeV will allow the LHC accelerator and detector teams to run-in their equipment ready for a full 14 TeV energy run to start in Spring 2008.
The schedule announced today ensures the fastest route to a high-energy physics run with substantial quantities of data in 2008, while optimising the commissioning schedules for both the accelerator and the detectors that will study its particle collisions. It foresees closing the LHC’s 27 km ring in August 2007 for equipment commissioning. Two months of running, starting in November 2007, will allow the accelerator and detector teams to test their equipment with low-energy beams. After a winter shutdown in which commissioning will continue without beam, the high-energy run will begin. Data collection will continue until a pre-determined amount of data has been accumulated, allowing the experimental collaborations to announce their first results.
The LHC project is being closely followed by a machine advisory committee composed of experts from around the world. This committee believes that “experience indicates that [the proposed schedule] is the most efficient way to get to high energy, high luminosity operation at the earliest date.”
Installation of the LHC accelerator has reached full speed. All of the industrial procurement projects are coming to a conclusion, and the main technical challenges have been met. Nevertheless, installation presents its own logistical hurdles that will need to be overcome on the way. “With a project such as the LHC, there are bound to be challenges,” said CERN Director General Robert Aymar, “however, the teams constructing the LHC and its detectors have risen to meet these challenges in the past, and I am convinced that they will do so again. We are on the threshold of a new and exciting era of discovery at the frontiers of particle physics.”
Notes for Editors:
The full schedule announced today is as follows. The last magnet for the LHC will be delivered to CERN in October 2006. Magnet testing will conclude by December 2006. The last magnet will be installed in the LHC ring in March 2007. The machine will then be closed ready for commissioning in August 2007, with first collisions in November. Commissioning the machine without beam for high energy running will continue through the winter in preparation for a flying start at high energy in Spring 2008.
 CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.