Live links to ATLAS institutions on Media Day

29 September 2008

Brookhaven National Laboratory collaborators link up with their colleagues in the US


With worldwide buzz over the LHC start-up, ATLAS took the opportunity to strengthen its ties with various ATLAS institutes across continents and oceans. Erik Johansson proposed to ATLAS institutions to run point-to-point video conferences between ATLAS and them. Collaborators were happy to participate, and we ran 11 sessions during the day.

Starting at 10:00 Geneva time with Melbourne (Australia) we went around the globe via Lecce, NIKHEF, Birmingham, Santiago/Valparaiso, Fermilab, Brookhaven, Montreal, Toronto, Regina, and finally ended at 21:00 with Vancouver. The day before, a session was already held with KEK, Japan.

Technical preparations were handled by a capable team. Knut Bjorkli from the CERN’s audio-visual service had beforehand thoroughly tested all connections and Paulus Gelissen operated the equipment during the day. Juliette Davenne had very nicely decorated the room with ATLAS pictures at all windows in a stained glass fashion and with a big ATLAS photo as background picture behind the participants. Martine Desnyder-Ivesdal and Tiina Wickstroem ran the show, instructing the panel discussion members and the audience, providing drinks, and keeping everyone in a good mood.

Juliette Davenne's ATLAS windows

The style of the various sessions was quite different, adapting to each audience. In Melbourne the venue was a science museum with a broad audience attending. In fact, during this session the first beam arrived in ATLAS, giving rise to a burst of applause in both continents. The session with Fermilab was in the middle of the night at their local time, so they celebrated with a pajama party. Other sessions were held in university amphitheatres with many students attending.

Some sessions had quite an official character with key people from both the LHC accelerator and the ATLAS experiment in the discussion panels. In other sessions, collaborators at CERN and at their home institute had an informal chat in their national language. During one of the last sessions, Martine and Tiina faced the unforeseen challenge of running with almost no light, as more than 100 ATLAS people wanted to see the 3D movie in the other part of the room.

In summary, these video conferences highlighted the spirit that we all work around the world for a common goal. A big THANK YOU to all participants at the discussions and to the people who helped organizing it, including Connie Potter and the whole team from the ATLAS secretariat.

Helfried Burckhart


Hampton University held its own event using the CERN webcast, where students came in the wee morning hours and entertained themselves while waiting for the first LHC beam trying to circulate a ping-pong ball all around 8 octants.