Rights: The University of Waikato Published 17 September 2009 Download

In this video. Dr David Krofcheck explains his involvement at the LHC with a general-purpose detector known as the CMS. Buried deep within the huge Compact Muon Solenoid structure are radiation sensors designed and built by David’s team. The project is a collaboration involving many physicists from around the world.

Point of interest
When you look at photos of the CMS, give some thought to the engineers, scientists and technicians who designed, constructed, installed, tested and operate this huge machine.


It’s one type of set of radiation detectors, so it’s like a giant tin can, essentially, with different radiation detectors at different distances from the point of collision, and each detector is specialised to detect certain types of particles. It’s a standard form, but it has 21st century technology – very strong magnetic fields to bend particles so that we can measure their energy and momenta, and we can read out the data very quickly. It will generate a large amount of data, so that generates new computer techniques to analyse and store data.

The CMS is not just that hardware, but it’s also a collaboration. It’s a collaboration of 38 nations counting New Zealand, and over last count 3,000 scientists and engineers. So it’s a global project, and massive hardware.

My involvement with CMS was to help get this New Zealand detector up and running, which is a small set of radiation detectors that are slapped in the middle of a giant tin can, so you can’t even really see our contribution from the outside. We know it’s buried in there because it gives signals out from the first test run of the LHC.

We also, in New Zealand, work on LHC physics in studying proton-proton head-on collisions, but also lead nucleus-lead nucleus head-on collisions, which is my speciality as a nuclear physicist – I like big nuclei – and we do simulations and try to analyse what the physics capability is for the CMS detector.

Maximilien Brice, CERN