Guest Post: Ben Allanach, On Open Access

Ben Allanach, guest blogger, is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge...

New Limits On VY Production From CDF: Good, But Also Disappointing

Alas, for once I must say I am not completely happy of one new result by the CDF collaboration...

The Plot Of The Week: Higgs Decays To WW In ATLAS

The latest paper by the ATLAS Collaboration is a very detailed report of the search for Higgs boson...

Travel Blog

While I do intend to update this blog today or tomorrow with a report on a nice new measurement...

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Tommaso DorigoRSS Feed of this column.

I am an experimental particle physicist working with the CMS experiment at CERN. In my spare time I play chess, abuse the piano, and aim my dobson telescope at faint galaxies.... Read More »

Analogies are a powerful way to explain complicated scientific concepts. I use them as much as I can whenever I describe particle physics in this blog or when I give a outreach talk in a school. However, good ones are not always easy to find. One usually needs examples from everyday life, which are simple to describe and which do not possess distracting features.

Today I wish to try my luck with you, to see if you come up with an analogy which is better than the one I could find to explain a feature of weak interactions. I must say I am not dissatisfied with my own find, but it is always good to subject oneselves to external judgement.
This is to inform you of the new luminosity record set today by the Tevatron collider at Fermilab. The machine has been working excellently, improving its performance as the machinists found ways to obtain higher stacks of antiprotons, reducing inefficiencies in the transport of the beams from one accelerator to the other in the injection process, or finding better beam tunes. A painstaking work that brought increasing returns, it seems.
I read with interest and excitement a very lightweight preprint on the Cornell preprint arxiv this afternoon. Although I usually skip reading papers on subjects I know little about (Cosmology), the title startled me enough to plunge into it:

"Solution to the Dark Energy Problem".

Single author, Paul Howard Frampton. Hmmm. A thought crossed my mind at the very start. Was this the work of a crackpot, sneaked into the arxiv while nobody was looking ?
This is just to mention that I have been blogging for this site for exactly one year.

During the last twelve months here I have observed a few changes from the old blog which I ran at wordpress. First of all, being hosted in Scientific Blogging extended my readership. However, I also lost some regular readers, probably ones who deem a site running commercial ads not worth reading. I specifically remember some of them, who contributed frequently to the comments threads in the old site - Fred, Guess Who, Tripitaka, Jeff ... The list is long. Too bad, it's life. Growth, I am convinced, only happens through change.
Have a look at the figure on the left. It shows the number of visits to this site broken down in hours of the day -the time of the server used by the visitor. The statistics of each bar is sufficient that the uncertainty on their height is of the order of 2%, so almost indistinguishable by eye. What you can see, therefore, are real variations with time of the traffic to this site, and not random fluctuations up and down.
I was invited to give a talk and participate in a round table, at a conference on Physics communication in Frascati, a small town near Rome where the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics has its headquarters. The conference also has a poster session, so I produced a simple poster to advertise this site.

Here is the poster (in italian -sorry). The full-sized version is 10 Mbytes so I will avoid posting it here.

Below is a quick-and-dirty translation of what I write in a few of the frames: