The ATLAS experiment

ATLAS is a particle physics experiment which explores the fundamental nature of matter and the basic forces that shape our universe. Its physics program, highlighted in 2012 by the discovery of the Higgs boson, goes far beyond and will span for more than a decade.

ATLAS means "A Thoroidal LHC ApparatuS". The detector is one of the two largest general purpose detectors ever installed at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. It was built and is operated by 3000 scientists coming from 177 institutes and 38 countries, plus countless engineers, technicians and administrative staff. Petabytes of data were recorded, processed and analyzed during the first 3 years of data taking, and we are prepared to get even more for the upcoming second LHC collider run, with even higher energy and rate.

But how will physicist find the needle in the haystack, and recognise what is "new" when the LHC collider restarts in 2015 ?

Large scale simulation campaigns are a key ingredient for this. We have integrated and coded everything we know about the standard model of particle physics, about the ATLAS detector performance, about the proton beams expected properties, in large programs. We have extrapolated what "known physics should look like" when the machine turns on, and investigated in parallel what "new" phenomena predicted by alternative models of the universe, particles and interactions may look like... if such process exist.  Nature will decide but, meanwhile, the preparation is already an exciting adventure we are sharing with you.

First contact ? Enjoy  ATLAS seen by a visitor

Links :

  • What is CERN ? ATLAS ? What do we study and publish ? Why simulation ? An Introduction talk for summer students and more generally people interested.
  • As announced in a CERN news, an introductory Scholarpedia article about The ATLAS experiment brings you from the project history to the detector, up to data processing and the physics highlights in a few pages.
  • Insider's view : a student blogs about Views on ATLAS
  • 2013 was an extraordinary "Higgs-year" for CERN. In 2014, our 60th anniversary was an occasion to look back at our contributions to society. 2015 will be the year of the second LHC run, with higher energy and intensity... and action is starting Now !
  • A quick summary can be written about How a detector works ", but a short film is definitely needed to feature the ATLAS detector . Many other videos and resources are available on our public site : http://www.atlas.ch/
Figure caption: 
The ATLAS detector seen by an artist

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