University of Wisconsin-Madison Physical Sciences Lab

LHC Compact Muon Solenoid

Photo of CMS disk being lowered into CMS cavern

The largest scientific experiment ever constructed, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland is one of the biggest projects for PSL. LHC is a particle physics project, where scientists hope to shed more light on the fundamental nature of matter. Over a 15-year period PSL was responsible for design, integration, supervision, assembly, and installation of the two endcaps for the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), one of the two detectors on LHC. Despite its name, CMS is anything but compact. Each endcap, roughly the size of a five-story building and weighing almost 3,000 tons, is a giant by itself. Containing over two million hair-like wires for particle detection and 310,000 channels of fast electronics, each endcap is also extremely delicate. The lowering of each fully assembled endcap 100 meters into the underground hall, without breaking a single wire, was an exceptionally satisfying and successful finish to a monumental project.

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