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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 »

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In Athens

In Athens

Aug 06 2010 | 3 comment(s)

No, this is not about Physics. No, you are probably not interested. No, this blog is not only about science. I sometimes use it as -guess what- a log book, a diary. A habit I have learned five years ago, as I walked my first steps in the world of blogging, here. They (the organizers of "Quantum Diaries") wanted me to write about my life, and they got it. I learned a job, and some weird habits, like talking about my private life in public. It never caused much trouble, not nearly as much as just writing good articles on particle physics!
What picture should we draw of the quest for new phenomena after the presentation of a wealth of new results at the international conference on high-energy physics in Paris held last week ? I am speaking in particular of results coming from the experiments at the Tevatron and LHC, which are all studying hadron collisions in search for still unseen effects to both confirm (with the discovery of the Higgs boson) or break down (with the observation of Supersymmetry, new particles, extra dimensions, or still other effects) the present theoretical understanding of fundamental physics which the standard model provides us with.
"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying"

Woody Allen
After the issuing of new top mass results by the Tevatron experiments, it is time for another look at global electroweak fits of standard model observables. The Gfitter group has produced new fits for the standard model in search of the most probable value of the Higgs boson mass, given the new measurements of top quark mass and other quantities, and the huge amount of existing information on sensitive observables from the standard model.

Unfortunately, I could find no update including the new Higgs search results yet. I guess such a fit will be ready in a few weeks... But the new released information is already interesting enough that we may meaningfully spend a few words around some figures here.
While the focus of the international conference in high-energy physics in Paris last week has been on the search for new physics and the precise measurement of standard model quantities, I will offer to you today something more technical, but in no way less physics-rich; it was presented in Paris, but with the many parallel sessions it may have well gone unnoticed... What I wish to explain to you is the procedure by means of which the CMS experiments calibrates the scale and resolution of its charged particle momentum measurement.
While everybody is busy discussing the latest Tevatron results on the Higgs boson searches -is that the light-mass excess the internet was abuzz, is it consistent with a signal as we expected it, how long will it take to confirm it is not a fluke, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera- I think I have a different plot with which to enthuse you.

If you do not like the figure below, courtesy CMS Collaboration 2010, you are kindly requested to leave this blog and spend your time reading something else than fundamental physics. I do not know what will ever make you believe particle physics is beautiful, if not what is shown here.