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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 »

Swamped by my course of Subnuclear Gauge Physics, I have little time left to surf the web and keep an eye on what happens in the blogs I usually visit. Nevertheless, today is Saturday and I have allowed myself a short tour. Below is a list of the most interesting things I have read.

  • First of all, there's an interesting new blog out there, with experimental particle physics explained to laymen. The language is not English, but it is a language you should learn, too.
As 2010 nears its end, the Tevatron experiments feel the monopoly of top quark physics being taken from their hands, due to the good news on the running of the Large Hadron Collider. The ATLAS and CMS experiments there have started to mine their datasets, now amounting to over 20 inverse picobarns and growing significantly by the day. These datasets contain as many top quark pairs as half an inverse femtobarn worth of Tevatron collisions, due to the 20-fold higher cross section of top pairs at the LHC.
"Since two fermions cannot turn into three fermions, the experimental observation of three-jet events in e+e- annihilation, first accomplished by the TASSO collaboration in June 1979 and confirmed by the other collaborations at PETRA two months later, implies the discovery of a new particle. Similar to the quarks, this new particle hadronizes into a jet, and therefore cannot be a color singlet. These three-jet events are most naturally explained by a hard noncollinear bremsstrahlung . [...] Thus the 1979 discovery of the second gauge particle, the gluon, occurred more than fifty years after that of the photon. This particle is also the first [...] gauge particle with self-interactions.
Quite in advance with respect to the stated goals of its 2010 collider program, the Large Hadron Collider has produced yesterday night the instantaneous luminosity of 10^32 cm^-2 s^-1 in the core of the ATLAS and CMS detectors. This is great news for all of us: at such a collision rate, on average one top quark pair is produced every minute, and one 120 GeV Higgs boson (if the thing exists) every 10 minutes makes its apparition there! (Calculations are in this recent post).
On October 13th 1985 the Tevatron collider started operations, producing the first man-made proton-antiproton collisions at 1.6 TeV center-of-mass energy in the core of the CDF detector. 25 years have passed. It is frankly unbelievable that the machine is still operating today, and with it CDF, which was back then the only game in town (D0 came later).

I find it even more unbelievable if you consider that much of the technology, the magnets, the devices that produced the collisions and the ones that recorded them are still those of 25 years back. 25 years are like a two glaciations time span for particle physics standards.
Two days ago I wrote here about the projected reach of Higgs boson searches of the Tevatron experiments, discussing what can be seen by CDF and D0 if they combine their analyses results, after improving them as is today thought possible to do. The reach was shown as a function of the integrated luminosity, which allows one to infer what can be done if the Tevatron stops running in 2011 or, as is being proposed, it continues for a few more years.