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Tommaso DorigoRSS Feed of this column.

Tommaso Dorigo is an experimental particle physicist, who works for the INFN at the University of Padova, and collaborates with the CMS experiment at the CERN LHC. He coordinates the European network... Read More »

The TEDx crew has been quite fast to make available on youtube the video of the presentation I gave together with Peter Woit in Antwerp yesterday. You can give a look at it here.

Unfortunately the slides are not simultaneously available, but I will fix that by pasting them here.

For now, just the video. Enjoy!

(By the way, my name has been misspelled in the title in a less than conventional way this time - but they're working to fix it).

Yesterday's event at TEDx in Antwerp, in the gorgeous Flemish Opera, was followed by an enthusiastic audience of 1000. I spoke in the afternoon and tried to explain what it is that we do at CERN with these protons and the complicated machines we use. I must say I had never spoken in front of such a large audience (although I had played the fourth Brandemburg concerto by Bach a few times in front of similar numbers, but that was 30 years ago), and my heart rate went to about 160 for the whole duration of my speech. I went blank a couple of times (forgot the succession of things I wanted to say from my script, that is), but nobody noticed, and it was a great performance according to the listeners and the organizers.
So, as I had announced a bit prematurely three days ago, the Opera experiment is about to release the results of a measurement that is bound to stir endless discussions.
"Excluding wrong Higgs boson mass hypotheses is starting to feel like explaining how to make the chocolate mousse by compiling a list of all the wrong ingredients."

T. D., TEDx Flanders, Sept. 24th 2011
A well-known HEP rule says that yesterday's searched new processes will be tomorrow's annoying irreducible backgrounds; but since I am an optimist, I always see the glass half-full and feel compelled to add that today they are pleasing high-statistics signals. Take single top quark production: the Tevatron experimentalists (you can include me in the lot) banged their head for a decade trying to measure it; they finally succeeded, but the signal always remained a small excess of events in the tail of a highly-refined multi-variable discriminator.
[Introduction: I published the text below last Monday, when the news of this controversial new measurement had spread in the corridors of physics departments, as well as in the threads of popular HEP blogs. I felt I was not doing anything wrong, since all I was reporting were facts, with a cautious opinion on my part. I was however forced to take it down only a few hours afterwards, due to a kind of pressure I could not ignore, my own job being at stake. I understand that the experiment who did this measurement was not too happy to see the news in print before they wanted to, but then again the fault is theirs. And in retrospect, what damage did I cause with the post below ?