Physics

A weekly visit to the Cornell Arxiv is more than enough for a physicist like me, since my daily work is not affected too much by whatever happens to be published there. Oftentimes, when I browse the contents of hep-ph (the folder containing preprints on particle phenomenology) I do not end up actually reading any papers, and limit myself to "sniffing" what is going on, by looking at the titles and author names. But at times I venture to browse through the pages, with mixed results.
I have no energy today to put together a detailed discussion of a brand new, exciting search for supersymmetric Higgs boson performed in data collected by the CDF experiment at the Tevatron proton-antiproton collider. All I can do for you is to show the interesting result of the search, and give you some very general ideas of what this is and why it is interesting. Maybe tomorrow or Saturday I will be able to pay more justice to the analysis.
2010 has just started with the best auspices to bring us exciting new science, and there comes a pledge to forecast what will happen in 2020. Oh, well - rest is not what I became a scientist for.

Making non-trivial predictions today for how will basic research be in subnuclear physics ten years down the line is highly non-trivial. For exactly the opposite reason that it is equally hard in several other fields of research.
Our universe expands, and this expansion is accelerating. Current consensus is to attribute this acceleration to a mysterious form of energy: dark energy. This dark energy density is very tiny and therefore only notable at cosmic length scales. When expressed in natural units, the cosmic dark energy density has a value of 10-123. This tiny value presents a big mystery. Straightforward estimates for the dark energy density based on quantum field theoretical considerations result in values (again in natural units) close to unity.
The success of today's particle physics experiments relies to a surprisingly large extent on a seldom told functionality of the giant apparata that detect the faint echoes of subatomic particles hitting or punching through their sensitive regions: the capability of triggering.
"One way of thinking about the confinement problem was suggested by e+ e- annihilation into hadrons. Initially, the virtual photon dissociates into a quark and an antiquark that move with almost the speed of light back-to-back. Feynman had argued that additional pairs would be produced in the region between them, along the line separating the initially produced . The new pairs and original would rearrange and become a bunch of outgoing mesons [...].
"The threat is much stronger than its execution"

Aaron Nimzovich (complaining to the arbiter of a chess match that his opponent had put a cigar in his mouth, after the arbiter had pointed out that the cigar was unlit).
The CDF Collaboration has recently produced a new analysis of proton-antiproton collisions at the now second-world-best collision energy of 1.96 TeV. They searched for very rare decays of the B mesons, particles composed of, would you guess, a b-quark and a lighter partner orbiting around each other.
As if taken by a spell, my joking claim to be on strike in the last post grew to become one of the longest streaks of absence from blogging of the last few months, for a series of irrelevant reasons tightly packed together.

In the meantime I have tried to put together an article on a recent very interesting measurement performed by the CDF collaboration: a study of very rare decays of B mesons, which can now not only determine the rate of said decays, but also have a taste at subtle kinematical effects in the distribution of the final states. The distributions are a new key to discriminate the existence of new physics in these rare processes.
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