Aldo Menzione And The Design Of The Silicon Vertex Detector

Below is a clip from a chapter of my book where I describe the story of the silicon microvertex...

What Next ?

Yesterday I was in Rome, at a workshop organized by the Italian National Institute for Nuclear...

Standard Model Or Minimal SUSY ?

If I look back at the first times I discussed the important graph of the top quark versus W boson...

The Most Precise Mass Measurement: CMS On Top

The mass of the top quark is a very important parameter of the standard model: using its value...

User picture.
picture for Hank Campbellpicture for Bente Lilja Byepicture for Sascha Vongehrpicture for Johannes Koelmanpicture for Georg von Hippelpicture for Josh Witten
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 »

"There is no such thing as a theoretical uncertainty. All there is is theoretical stupidity"

Guido Altarelli
This is the second part of a two-part collection of tips for particle physics graduate students. The first part is here.

Three: be a fool today if you want to be a guru tomorrow

The third advice I have in store for Jane is maybe the toughest to follow, at least at first. But I do believe it is of critical importance for her to grow, become knowledgeable, and distinguish herself from the rest of the pack.
My blog is not a place for hot-off-the-press news - in it you are more likely to find discussions on material well digested and thought over. Nevertheless, I do not have the guts to sit on today's news. The Large Hadron Collider at CERN has produced its first high-energy proton-proton collisions, in the core of the experiments instrumenting its underground caverns.

It has been a long way since the first design of this extraordinary machine. I was reminded of just how much effort the construction and commissioning took by a slide shown by Ives Sirois at a workshop in Turin today: it is a schedule of the construction of the LHC dated 1989!

Being a graduate student in particle physics is a tough, stressful job. I know it because I once was one, and I still remember the burden of giving exams, carrying on single-handedly a difficult analysis, and desperately struggling to learn the job of particle physicist, all the while trying to prove my worth to my colleagues. On the personal side, further trouble compounds the situation: one is usually fighting with tight money, stranded away from her family and boyfriend, and finds herself in the company of people whose similar priorities make the otherwise natural impulse of "having fun whenever possible" the last of their thoughts.

Particle Physics had a short fling with Numerology in its young years, but the two have never met again since then.


It happens in the best families, so they say. Two experiments work 24/7 to produce an improved result on the Higgs search, and the result is disappointing, to say the least.

I am talking about the Tevatron, of course. For a little while longer, CDF and D0 will have the exclusive on Higgs boson searches. Last March, we all rejoyced when we saw that the Tevatron was starting to become sensitive to a high-mass Higgs, and indeed it excluded its existence in a range of masses between 160 and 170 GeV. We were waiting for more exclusions for the winter conferences of 2010, when more data would be used to produce improved results. Instead, no improvement, but actually, a retractatio. How is that possible ??