Thursday, 28 June 2007

ATLAS End Cap Toroïd

ATLAS End Cap Toroïd
Originally uploaded by hyakuhei

Today was a big day for the ATLAS experiment, the moving of a huge Toroïd end cap for the ATLAS experiment. This huge part was slowly transported by two HGV cabs, one in front pulling and one behind pushing. This was a slow and steady operation, if the Toroïd leans further than 5 degrees the whole thing comes toppling down!

You can see the rest of the pictures in a little album I put together here :


Wednesday, 20 June 2007


Originally uploaded by hyakuhei

For a picture I took with a camera phone, I'm quite pleased with this.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Almost done!

Yes thats right my friends, my time here in Switzerland is almost done!

On Friday the 13th of July at 17.30 CET I will cease to be employed by CERN, I will cease to work for the PH/AID department, I will cease to be a Technical Student and I will be going home!

Work has been pretty manic over the last week or two. The project that I have been working on for the last few months is called TPCC [Time Projection Chamber Configuration], This project is entirely my own work and I was given a great deal of freedom with the design and implementation. I'm happy to report that TPCC was recently used intensively in the testing of 8 chambers (1/4 total) of the TPC here at CERN.

TPCC, is an extremely decoupled system with multiple entry points that was designed to be used in undefined environments to manipulate front end electronics via the "DDL" which is a full duplex fiber link. It uses a server, client and a control system. Each client listens for commands from the server and performs various functions, in parallel using restricted linear recursion to attempt to transparently recover from errors (after all, these electronics are pretty new)!

The officially preferred system for configuring the TPC is using something called the DCS or Detector Control System though I'm pleased to report that it was TPCC that was used just last week for the commissioning of the TPC. This involved very intensive testing of my software, and I'm glad to say that apart from two (related) bugs which were fixed on site, it performed very well and has been praised by people far above my pay grade - apparently they were rather surprised when informed the system was designed and implemented by a student in a few months!

The scary thing for me is the data that was used to do the configurations. After all, this is the data that scientists will crawl over now to clarify that the TPC is working correctly and that it is ready to "go live" when the real experiment starts. The configuration data (were talking configuration data for well over a million sensors here) was also created by me. In one night, hacking away writing a little program in C that spits out (currently) 160,000 Lines of SQL for insertion into the database. This data isn't checked or validated by anyone and whilst the (vain) student in me rejoices at the opportunity the engineer in me shudders.

I consider myself very lucky to be at CERN, I'm one of five Britons picked to be here this year. I consider myself even more lucky to be working in PH/AID and the project that I am involved with. My work is being discussed at high levels and has real potential to make a genuine contribution to the development of the Time Projection Chamber and high energy physics. I'm not sure where the credit ends up for all this but so long as part of it rubs off on me, I'm happy.

Thank you CERN

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

My New Camera

I spend far too much money!
I've picked up a nice black EOS 300D with a Canon 28-90mm lens...Yay!

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Photography: my new hobby!

Last week I was mooching around some second hand shops in English town of Tewkesbury when I happened upon a camera and a little further inspection and it turned out to be an old 35mm SLR.

I've always had an affinity for high precision equipment, watches, optics etc. Whilst I've never really had a camera before this old lump was only £8 so I decided to buy it. Its a Chinon CM-4 from what I can tell its about 20 years old. It takes Pentax K mount bayonet lenses and is fully manual.

I'm loving it! I've shot 3 or 4 rolls of film already! Of course I should wait and make sure that the shots develop correctly but I'm having fun all the same!

I know from reading here and in other places that I've made many elementary mistakes but I think I got some decent shots, after all, if the shutter speed is not so low as to create the dreaded camera shake and the TTL indicator tells me I'm on the money the picture should come out reasonably well.... It may not be a good picture of course but hopefully I will be able to see the thing I was pointing at!

I'm learning a lot at the moment, I really enjoy using this fully manual camera, of course there are thousands of advantages with newer camera's but at least at the moment, if there is a problem with a shot there is only one person I can blame

The only thing I would like to have is a Depth Of Field preview so that I can check that the apature is set correctly for the photo I want to take.

My mother commented that I seem to have expensive hobbies, how nice it is that I pick up a new one just before my birthday :-D

If anyone can give me any hints or tips, particularly for airshows as I have one coming up, That would be great. I also have a 210mm lens for that one, should get me a little closer!