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The Oracle at DELPHI

DELPHI was one of four experiments to be approved for LEP. Its origins can be traced to the early 1980s when a small group of people dreamed of a detector which would push technology to its limits.

The Italian Ugo Amaldi was their spokesman, and by the time their dream became reality in 1989, DELPHI consisted of more than 400 physicists from 40 institutes in 18 countries including the Russian Institute of High Energy Physics, IHEP, at Serpukhov, and the International Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, JINR, in Dubna.

Left to right: G. Kantardjian, J. Allaby, and U. Amaldi welcome a shipment of steel from Russia for DELPHI's magnet yoke.

Today there are around 550 physicists in DELPHI, and the number of institutes has grown to 56 in 22 countries. Even countries, such as Slovenia, which did not exist when DELPHI was born, have been welcomed into the collaboration, a step on their way to becoming full members of the global community of nations.

The IHEP and JINR contributions to DELPHI accounted for around 15% of the DELPHI detector. The largest part of this is the 3000 ton steel magnet yoke and the 20,000 streamer tubes it contains. The steel was produced in Russia at the Izhora plant near St. Petersburg.

The streamer tubes, each 4 metres in length, were made in a special workshop at JINR before being shipped to CERN. Physicists from IHEP and JINR have been active in all aspects of DELPHI's research programme.

The DELPHI detector seen fully installed at CERN.

The Small Angle Tile Calorimeter, STIC, is a precision device conceived by IHEP in collaboration with CERN, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Swedish institutes. It consists of lead tiles into which several thousand plastic fibres are threaded. When particles pass through the lead, they lose their energy by ionization. This causes the fibres to light up, and the light is converted into an electrical signal. The detector has now operated successfully since spring 1994, largely exceeding its design goals.

The results obtained have been analysed by young physicists from Italy, Portugal, Russia, and Sweden, forming the basis of seven doctoral theses. DELPHI, together with the other LEP experiments, has made an invaluable contribution to mankind's knowledge of nature.


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