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The Quote Of The Week - Neutrino Mass Hierarchy and Matter Effects

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Tight Constraints On Dark Matter From CMS

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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 »

"Quidquid oritur, qualecumque est, causam habet a natura. Cum autem res nova et admirabilis fieri videtur, causam invetigato, si poteris, ratione confisus. Si nullam causam reperis, illud tamen certum habeto, nihil fieri potuisse sine causa naturali. Repelle igitur terrorem quem res nova tibi attulit et semper verbis sapientium confidere aude: sapiens enim facta, quae prodigiosa videntur , numquam fortuito evenisse dicet, quod nihil fieri sine causa potest, nec quicquam fit quod fieri non potest: nulla igitur portenta sunt. Nam si portentum putare debemus id quod raro fit, sapientem esse portentum est: facilius esse enim mulam parere arbitror quam sapientem esse."

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Quick and dirty translation:
To see the future, you must know the past: these nine words nicely summarize a syllogism which knows few exceptions. Turning to known data to check the power of one's extrapolations is a quite well-founded scientific approach. So if we are to try and guesstimate how much will the CDF and DZERO experiments manage to deliver in the next few years, we must check how well they delivered this far, by comparing results with early expectations.

But why bother ? Well, of course because there is a real challenge on: bookmakers need to tune the odds they offer!

Fermilab versus CERN
"Why three families ? Why the particular symmetry structure ? [...] If the Higgs particle turns out to exist as conventionally described, with a reasonably low mass (say less than 200 GeV) then that closes the Standard Model from a mathematical point of view. It is then quite conceivable that new physics, not contained in the Standard Model, will be way beyond the reach of any accelerator imaginable today. In this case, humanity might never get an answer to the questions posed above."

M.Veltman, Reflections on the Higgs System (1997).
As I quickly approach my forty-fourth birthday, I can almost feel the decline in my mental and physical abilities. Sure, I try to oppose it, but it is arguably an uphill fight.

One of the means I have to gauge the line-up of my neurons is to play blitz games in the Internet Chess Club: my Elo rating is still rather stable on the ICC, although the rate of blunders per game seems to increase. When I play a nice tactical combination, however, I have the feeling of rejuvenating: it is just as if somebody injected some magical youth potion in my veins, for a while.
Last Friday I was in Pisa, at the Scuola Normale Superiore (see picture), where italian members of the CMS Collaboration gathered for two days to discuss the status of their studies, exchange ideas, and try to coalesce common analysis efforts.
W bosons are amazingly interesting objects. Almost thirty years after their discovery -by Carlo Rubbia and his collaborators of the UA1 experiment at CERN- they continue to provide critical information on the theory of electroweak interactions. The front of particle physics has moved quite a bit further from 1983, and yet the weapons we use todat to try and conquer unexplored land have not changed much. Today I wish to summarize one particular search that has been done by the CDF experiment at the Tevatron proton-antiproton collider, one which tries to catch W bosons as they decay in a very uncommon way.