Extraordinary Claims: Review My Paper For $10

Bringing the concept of peer review to another dimension, I am offering you to read a review article...

A New Search For The A Boson With CMS

I am quite happy to report today that the CMS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider has...

PhD Positions For Chinese Students in Padova

I am using my blog to advertise the opening of PhD positions in Padova University, to work at several...

A Picture More Awe-Inspiring Than The One Of The Surface Of Comet Gerasimenko

This one is definitely too juicy to ignore - I need to join the crowd of bystanders-in-awe. ...

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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 »

Preparing the documents needed for an exam for a career advancement, to a scientist like me, is something like putting order in a messy garage. Leave alone my desk, which is indeed in a horrific messy state - papers stratified and thrown around with absolutely no ordering criterion, mixed with books I forgot I own and important documents I'd rather have reissued rather than searching for them myself. No, I am rather talking about my own scientific production - pubished articles that need to be put in ordered lists, conference talks that I forgot I have given and need to be cited in the curriculum vitae, refereeing work I also long forgot I'd done, internal documents of the collaborations I worked in, students I tutored, courses I gave.
Although now widely accepted as the most natural explanation of the observed features of the universe around us, dark matter remains a highly mysterious entity to this day. There are literally dozens of possible candidates to explain its nature, wide-ranging in size from subnuclear particles all the way to primordial black holes and beyond. To particle physicists, it is of course natural to assume that dark matter IS a particle, which we have not detected yet. We have a hammer, and that looks like a nail.
It is a well-known fact that given the availability of food, we eat far more than what would be healthy for our body. Obesity has become a plague in many countries, and the fact that it correlates very tightly with a decreased life expectancy is not a random chance but the demonstrated result of increased risk of life-threatening conditions connected with excess body fat.

Yet we eat, and drink, and eat. We look like self-pleasing monkeys trained to press a button to self-administer a drug. To make matters worse, many of the foods and drinks we consume contain substances purposely added to increase our addiction. So it takes a strong will to control our body weight.
Today the Cornell arxiv features a paper by J. Aguilar Saavedra and F. Jouaquim, titled "A closer look at the possible CMS signal of a new gauge boson". As I read the title I initially felt somewhat lost, as being a CMS member I usually know about the possible new physics signals that my experiment produces, and the fact that we had a possible signal of a new gauge boson had entirely escaped my attention. Hence I downloaded the paper and started reading it, hoping to discover I had discovered something new.
As I reported a couple of times in the course of the last three months, the ATLAS experiment (one of the two all-purpose experiments at the CERN Large Hadron Collider) has launched a challenge to data analyzers around the world. The task is to correctly classify as many Higgs boson decays to tau lepton pairs as possible, separating them from all competing backgrounds. Those of you who are not familiar with the search of the Higgs boson may wonder what the above means, so here is a crash course on that topic.

Crash course on the Higgs and its decays to tau leptons
Everybody seems to be talking about the Kardashian index (call it K) these days. It is a rather useless number that you compute as a ratio between the number of twitter followers you have and the number of citations that your papers got.

Here is a quote from its inventor Neil Hall:

“I am concerned that phenomena similar to that of Kim Kardashian may also exist in the scientific community,” wrote Hall. “I think it is possible that there are individuals who are famous for being famous (or, to put it in science jargon, renowned for being renowned). We are all aware that certain people are seemingly invited as keynote speakers, not because of their contributions to the published literature but because of who they are.”