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How does the information
collected by the detector
get to computers?
With three million collisions
happening inside the
detector each second,
physicists have to decide
which data to throw out
before they even look at it.
Walk down into the collision
hall with CDF co-Spokes-
person Rob Roser, sit in on
part of a collaboration
meeting, join visitors on
a tour of the detector
display area, or spend a
morning with the aces in
the control room.
|You are a proton. You have been circling around
the Tevatron tunnel at relativistic speeds—99.999% of the speed of light.
It takes you just twenty millionths of a second to travel once around the
Tevatron ring, four miles in circumference. You may have been
going at it for hours. Once again you approach the area near the
CDF building, where focusing magnets push you closer to the other protons
in your bunch and maximize the chances
that one of you will collide with one of the antiprotons traveling at
relativistic speeds in the opposite direction. This time your
number is up. Bam. You collide head-on with an antiproton, and, having
annihilated, you cease to exist.
But what happens to the energy? Your mass, along with the energy stored in you
due to your tremendous speed, turns you and the antiproton into a spray of daughter particles that
scatter in all directions like bowling pins. The
three-story-tall detector at CDF is designed to catch these particles, measuring their energies and
in some cases tracing the paths they make as they move through the detector.
Using simulation software,
CDF physicists try to recreate the processes by which those particles were
produced, following the
daughter particles through every generation in the hope of learning more
about how elementary particles react with one another, and, ultimately, what our
universe is made of and how it came to be.
Enter the Tour