Physics

In two years the Higgs boson will be close to discovery, and its mass already known, or the particle will be already in the trash bin. That is the single line which best summarizes the scenarios I depicted yesterday, in the concluding slides of a seminar I gave at IFIC, in beautiful Valencia (below, placa de la Virgen on a pleasant evening, taken with my iphone).
While answering a comment in another recent post, I was struck by a thought I have had other times, but which I tend to remove. This is about the fact that it is surprisingly hard to produce a paper in a large experimental collaboration in high-energy physics. The amount of work required to put together a sound analysis of collider data is quite sizable, and the pains of going through the internal review process may last months, when not a year or even longer.

Of course it is nice to have the
A video on youtube documents a remarkable feat -the Australian motorbyker Robbie Maddison jumping the Korynth channel in Greece. A 85-meter jump!



Approved!

Approved!

Apr 08 2010 | 3 comment(s)

I was on a plane to Valencia yesterday at the time when Paolo spoke in the Main Auditorium at CERN, and got approved our very first physics result with CMS collider data.

Okay -with a small group we had already produced an approved plot of phi-->KK decays last December, but this is a real, full-fledged analysis! I will talk more about it in the next few days.
Russian and US physicists have created a superheavy element made of atoms containing 117 protons that is roughly 40% heavier than lead.  The achievement fills in the final gap on the list of observed elements up to element 118.

The team produced the elusive element 117 by fusing together atoms of calcium and another rare, heavy element known as berkelium. The research will appear in a forthcoming issue of the  Physical Review Letters.
A lot has been going on recently in blogs I sporadically visit (I am not a big reader myself). I thus thought I'd put together a list of valuable links here.
I just read a very nice article by Nature's Zeeya Merali, and I thought I would link it from this blog. It discusses in detail several aspects of the sociology of the very large communities of particle physics experiments taking place at CERN.
The CDF Collaboration blessed yesterday afternoon the results of a search for massive Gravitons decaying into pairs of Z bosons. And it is a startling new result!

Usually after a blessing (which is the result of a collaboration-wide presentation when the analysis is given a final scrutiny) the results are not immediately made public: this non-written rule has the purpose of allowing the analysis authors to be the first to present the results at a conference or other public event. But the rule written in the CDF bylaws, on the other hand, say that after a blessing the result is public, so for this time I will stick to the written one, and fair play be darned this time... The chances to announce what might be the first evidence of gravitons is too appealing!
The formulation of a fun physics problem with practical -and pleasant- applications occurred to me yesterday. I am currently spending a week in Madrid with my family, and we have chosen a very nice hotel in the suburbs, sacrificing travel time to the center for comfort. Among other things, the hotel offers a nice pool with several water jets along the sides. These are meant to allow you to swim against the water stream, so that you keep the same position as you push yourself against the stream.

 

Birefringence and the polarized light

1. Definition