Physics

My most visible contribution to particle physics after my death might well one sad day turn out to be the sketching of W and Z boson identification diagrams I made in 1999 for a talk I was to attend at Moriond QCD. I must have been on a bright day when I set out to make those graphs, because everywhere I turn I see somebody using them -without paying any recognition to me of course. I noticed the trend two years ago, and I get reminded of it periodically.
Today I wish to offer you the preview of a poster which I am going to show on September 1st in Kobe, Japan, at a session of the 29th edition of the Physics in Collisions conference.
In thirty minutes I will jump on a flight to Frankfurt and from there to Kobe, Japan, where I am attending the twenty-ninth edition of the Physics in Collisions conference. No big talk in store for me this time; no Westminster central hall kind of thing, nor spotlights or interviews. I will just be presenting a poster. Well, two.
Today I wish to offer you the figure attached at the bottom of this article, which shows a combination of recent determinations of the rate at which the Tevatron proton-antiproton collisions produce single top quarks.
Today, although fully submerged by an anomalous wave of errands which had been patiently waiting for my return at work, I heroically managed to dig out of the ArXiv a paper worth a close look.
The figure shown below represents the best measurement of the top quark mass ever obtained by a single experiment, and it is a determination with a less than 1% total uncertainty. It has been approved last week by the CDF experiment at Fermilab.

The CDF experiments collects proton-antiproton collisions delivered by the Tevatron collider, which imparts the projectiles with 1 TeV of energy each, for a center-of-mass energy of 2 TeV. This is still the highest energy ever achieved by a collider, although the record is going to be soon stripped off Fermilab by the Large Hadron Collider, which is due to start colliding protons with other protons at 7 TeV of energy this coming fall.
"We would dig a shaft near 'ground zero' about 10 feet in diameter and about 150 feet deep. We would put a tank, 10 feet in diameter and 75 feet long on end at the bottom of the shaft. We would then suspend our detector from the top of the tank, along with its recording apparatus, and back-fill the shaft above the tank.
Google “E=mc2 is wrong” and you get 1,060 hits. Google “E=mc2 is correct” and you get a mere 138 hits. There you have it. It took us a more than a century, but finally this crazy inconsistent theory of relativity got outvoted. Common sense cries victory!

Fortunately, science does not work that way. Science is no democracy, and we do not render a theory invalid by popular vote. Einstein's theory of relativity has stood the test of time and its correctness is beyond any doubt. But... there is an issue with what is arguably the most famous equation in the history of natural sciences.
The World Conference on Science Journalism held in London 2009 has its own web site, of course. Today they were so kind to let me know they had published there the recordings of all sessions, among which was the one where I gave my speech. The session title was "Blogs, Big Physics, and Breaking News", it featured Matin Durrani as chair, and Matthew Chalmers, myself, and James Gillies as speakers. The abstract ran as follows:

How are blogs changing the way science news develops and is reported?
The commissioning of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN will offer a
telling case study over the next few years. Who will be first with news
A couple of months ago I wrote here about the first observation of a process called "diboson production", a quite rare occurrence in hadronic collisions: for the first time, the CDF collaboration could observe that rare process in events containing hadronic jets, which are usually riddled by enormous backgrounds.