Physics

Do you remember the infamous "g-2" measurement ? The anomalous magnetic moment of the muon has been for over a decade in the agenda of HEP physicists, both as a puzzle and as a hope for good things to come. 

Ever since the Brookhaven laboratories estimated the quantity at a value over 3 standard deviations away from the equally precise theoretical predictions, the topic (could the discrepancy be due to new physics??) has been commonplace in dinner table conversations among HEP physicists. 
On Saturday, July 8th, the "Sala Perla" of the Palazzo del Casinò was crowded by 600 attendees, who filled all seats and then some. The event, titled "Universo: tempo zero - breve storia dell'inizio", was organized in conjunction with the international EPS conference, which takes place until this Wednesday at Lido of Venice. It featured a discussion between the anchor, Silvia Rosa Brusin, and a few guests: Fabiola Gianotti, general director of CERN; Antonio Masiero, vice-president of INFN; and Mirko Pojer, responsible of operations of the LHC collider. The program was enriched by a few videos, and by readings by Sonia Bergamasco and jazz music by Umberto Petrin.
[UPDATE: see at the bottom for some additional commentary following a post on the matter by our friend Lubos Motl in his blog, where he quotes this piece and disagrees on the interest of finding the Xi mass in perfect agreement with an a priori calculation.]

It is always nice to learn that a new hadron is discovered - this broadens our understanding of the extremely complicated fabric of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interactions that govern nuclear matter and are responsible for its stability. 
The 2017 edition of the European Physical Society conference will take place in the Lido of Venice this week, from July 5th to 12th. For the first time in many years -30 as of now- a big international conference in HEP is organized in Italy, a datum I found surprising at first. When I learned it, the years were 26 and I was in a local organizing committee that tried to propose another conference in the same location. Although excellent, our proposal was ditched, and from the episode I learned I should not be too surprised for the hiatus. 
There is a very simple high school homework exercise question that I have kept with me for 30 or so years because of its deep relevance for the understanding of fundamental physics. It teaches about the nature of quantum uncertainty, but sadly also about how terribly wrong textbooks can be, how nonsense makes it into print and is taught to millions as the wisdom of science, although about one minute playing with a guitar, or ten minutes of critical thought, should have told the author, or some teacher, or somebody for crying out loud. Now as I am teaching and writing a book on fundamental physics for lay people as well as applied and social scientists, it shall finally be resolved properly.

The question is simple; I rephrased it a little from the original:
A new review of my book, "Anomaly! Collider Physics and the Quest for New Phenomena at Fermilab", has appeared on the June issue of "Physics World". It is authored by Gavin Hesketh, a lecturer at University College London, and you can read it here.

This article continues the series of postings in this blog on the results of artistic work by high-school students of three schools in Venice (out of five who took part initially) that participate in a contest and exposition connected to the initiative "Art and Science across Italy", an initiative of the network CREATIONS, funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the EU.

Today I gave a seminar at the Physics Department of the University of Helsinki, to talk of "Controversial Phenomena in Collider Data and the 5-Sigma Criterion in HEP", invited by Juska Pekkanen and Mikko Voutilanen, two CMS colleagues. 
The seminar is more or less the same I have given several times in the past year around Europe and the US. It contains some statistics, some HEP history, and some material taken from my recent book, "Anomaly!".
Open science communication is not a new idea but the idea of doing the composition of a paper on a cloud based, search indexed, public platform where anyone can see how the sausage is made is.   Authorea is just such a platform and I am using it to put the finishing touches on a paper dealing with a true theory of everything (a field of study littered with corpses so suffice it to say I may well be wrong like everyone else who has tried.)  the main topic of this blog is to be the act of publishing on Authorea or a similar platform vs traditional LaTeX editing. 
Authoring with Authorea
The CMS collaboration at the CERN Large Hadron Collider has pulled off an extremely neat new measurement of the Higgs boson production rate - one which, for some reasons, is extraordinary in its own right.

Despite being the decay mode with the highest probability (two thirds of Higgs bosons die that way), the H->bb process is among the most elusive to put in evidence in LHC data, because b-quarks are quite commonplace there.