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The Quote Of The Week - Shocked And Disappointed

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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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The Cornell arxiv is known to not accept preprints without a minimal screening of their contents. Still, I am sometimes led to wonder if a similar attention is paid to the liberty that authors at times take with the titles of their papers.

I am officially on vacation since yesterday, so you should not expect the list below to be a very comprehensive one. I just offer four examples of titles that might have been considered for some form of moral suasion toward the author by the arxiv managers, but apparently haven't. I just quote some titles below which struck me as kind of odd.
"Hell, if I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn't have been worth the Nobel prize. "

R. Feynman, People magazine, 1985

I sure cannot disagree more with Dick than on the above sentence !
The muon is a remarkable particle, and its characteristics continue to be of interest eighty years after its discovery despite the fact that we have measured them better than almost anything else around. So, for instance, the muon lifetime is known to better accuracy than that of any other unstable particle; and the muon anomalous magnetic moment remains at the top of our list of things to determine more precisely nowadays.
One and a half years ago ATLAS produced measurements for the Higgs boson mass using their selected sample of H->gamma gamma and H->ZZ*-> 4-lepton decay candidates, based on data collected in 2011 and 2012. That preliminary measurement was rather surprising as the two independent determinations appeared to disagree with one another at the 2.5-sigma level. The matter even spurred some online debate (see e.g. my blog entry) and a few gambling addicts waged $100 on the fact that those might be two distinct particle states.
With still three months to go and 663 teams participating, the Higgs challenge has not even entered a hot phase yet, and still there is a lot to watch in the leaderboard at the kaggle site.
In the last few days, there has been a total revolution in the leading position, and a considerable increase in the best scores. And Lubos Motl is again third (and he would be first if there had been no movement in the other positions), implicitly answering some detractors who wrote comments in a previous post on the matter here. See the standings below.

On my first day at the Erice School of Science Journalism this past week I attended a lecture by Alessio Cimarelli, who discussed "When Data Journalism meets Science: a "Hackathon"". The speaker (who owns the site called "dataninja") showed several examples of how to mine the web to construct databases and display results on several topics. It was quite interesting to see the techniques he used, but I felt compelled to interrupt him at some point, in the interest of the school participants.