Physics

Both the CMS and ATLAS collaborations have already started to exclude meaningful regions of the parameter space of Supersymmetric models with the data they collected in 2010. And Physics World is on the news today with a online article by Kathy Mc Alpine, the famous rapper physicist who wrote the lirics and interpreted one of the biggest Youtube hits in the category of science popularization. If you have not watched it yet, please rush to do so now. Six million people (and counting) have done so before you already.
A nice piece of news in my mailbox today: it appears that the CMS collaboration, the experiment I work for at the CERN Large Hadron Collider, has got four different scientific papers approved for publication in the course of the same week. What is more, the four articles will be published on three different international magazines of clear authority. A true success !
Some subjects I try to avoid in this blog. But this one seems to become increasingly difficult to escape. Since my interview at Philosophy-To-Go, I regularly get questions about the physics of free will. These questions range from
"Does free will exist given that the laws of physics are deterministic?"
to the more suggestive
"Is our free will based on quantum indeterminism?"
and the more confrontational
Today I spoke at a conference on "QCD advances" which is being held in Les Houches, an amiable small town near Chamonix, on the french slopes of Mont Blanc. The content of my talk is accessible from the conference web site, but I guess that I should provide here a summary of what I discussed.
Time flows

Time flows

Feb 17 2011 | 10 comment(s)

Time flows.

Newton seemed to think so. So did Aristotle and countless others before. Even the Buddhists, with their cyclic time, kept believing that time was something which went from one instant to the other, moving forward though in circles.

That, of course, changed after Einstein. However, I think a vast number of people still have problems coming to grips with the nature of time and how they fit in it. Which is no wonder: humans evolved to live within time, trapped in their 3D slice of reality, ripe with memories and longings. This paragraph hasn't been here forever. I just wrote it. Or did I?

After arguing against ‘higher consciousness’ or freedom evolving, let us go on to discuss consciousness inside computers. This is, maybe surprisingly so for some readers, closely connected with the non-existence of gods and in fact quantum theory.


Ironically (given what I wrote the last time), cyberspace and its breakneck speed evolution is still the big hope for some ill-defined freedom. Since cyberspace is all about information technology, should there not be higher consciousness after all? Maybe a ‘god2.0’ develops and grants us salvation in virtual reality, in a simulated matrix?


The physics with LHC is becoming rapidly awesome, and being part of the CMS experiment and deeply involved in some technical aspects of the analyses (the statistical treatment of the data, and the control of the statistical claims of the scientific papers we publish) I find myself with more things to do in my agenda than I can possibly manage.
Embarassingly overdue, the slides of my talk on "Heavy Flavour and Quarkonia Production in 7 TeV pp Collisions", meant for the 2011 Les Houches meeting on "Recent Advances in QCD" to be held next week near Chamonix, France, are slowly coming together. Since these days I seem to be straggling my feet on the blog as well, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. So here you are going to get a short overview of recent measurements of b-quark production by CMS.

While providing the results for experts and beginners alike, I will try to make this discussion as simple as possible (but not simpler), something that lately I tend to forget. I do not like my blog posts to be too technical, but maybe I am getting old and my popularization powers are weakening. Let's see.

Einstein’s relativity theory and quantum physics, in theory as well as experiment, are extremely concerned with light. This comes directly from the fact that light does not exist as an independent entity – it is plain interaction.

I explained already how relativity makes light’s non-existence obvious. Today, I will tell you why that odd seeming fact only confirms what is known from entirely unrelated quantum mechanics: non-quantum relativity and non-relativistic quantum physics both agree on that light itself does not exist for entirely different reasons!

"I had the most remarkable experience this evening. While coming in here, I saw licence plate ANZ 912. Calculate for me, please, the odds that of all the licence plates in the state of Washington I should happen to see ANZ 912."

R.Feynman