CERN will keep you researchers, students and dataphiles busy this weekend. The institute has released 300 terabytes of Large Hadron Collider data collected by the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector back in 2011. You know how scientists use the collider to smash particles? Well, the CMS is one of the two components of the LHC with the capability to see the particles (like the Higgs boson) or phenomena produced by those high-energy collisions.
The CMS team released two types of datasets you can access on CERN's OpenData website: the primary datasets are in the same format used by its own researchers, while the derived datasets require less computing power and are meant for students. They also uploaded a number of tools you can use to analyze the info you access. CMS team members believe making their work available to everyone is a "giant step in the right direction." Kati Lassila-Perini, the CMS physicist who leads the team's data preservation efforts, says:
"...once we've exhausted our exploration of the data, we see no reason not to make them available publicly. The benefits are numerous, from inspiring high-school students to the training of the particle physicists of tomorrow. And personally, as CMS's data-preservation co-ordinator, this is a crucial part of ensuring the long-term availability of our research data."