ATLAS Experiment CERN

The project of making a detector involves more than just following a sheet of instructions. It is a collaboration of over 2900 individuals who have to work together as a team while being thousands of miles apart. We posed questions to a few of these men and women to see what happens behind the scenes to make an undertaking like this work. Questions:


  • What is the balance between individual creativity and the process of being part of a large collaboration? answer
  • How do important decisions get made? How do individuals not in the leadership get their voices heard? answer
  • How is the leadership structured? answer
  • How is the leadership selected? answer
  • How is such a large and far-flung collaboration managed? answer
  • How do 3000 people communicate among themselves? In such communication, how do you bridge the large distances and time differences? answer
  • How does one apportion the tasks? answer
  • How does one apportion the costs? answer
  • Where does the money come from? answer
  • How do people join? answer
  • How do you assure that all the detector pieces fit together? answer
  • How was the site chosen? (Why Geneva?) answer
  • Why have an international collaboration? answer
  • How will data be analyzed among 3000 people? answer
  • How will papers be agreed upon? answer
  • How does any one collaborator get credit for his/her contributions? answer
  • What is the impact of the global spread of the collaboration? How does one contribute from 6000 miles away (from US, Japan, Russia)? answer