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Guest Post: Ben Allanach, On Open Access

Ben Allanach, guest blogger, is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge...

New Limits On VY Production From CDF: Good, But Also Disappointing

Alas, for once I must say I am not completely happy of one new result by the CDF collaboration...

The Plot Of The Week: Higgs Decays To WW In ATLAS

The latest paper by the ATLAS Collaboration is a very detailed report of the search for Higgs boson...

Travel Blog

While I do intend to update this blog today or tomorrow with a report on a nice new measurement...

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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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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.”
The other day I wrote a post reporting of the lowered expectations of SUSY enthusiasts, who now apparently look forward to seeing 2-sigma effects in the next Run data of the CMS and ATLAS collaborations. That would keep their hope going, apparently.

I would have no problem letting them wait for late 2015, when the first inverse femtobarns of 13 TeV collisions will have been given a look at. But another thing happened today which made me change my mind - a colleague noted in the comments thread of that article that the LHC experiments appear to not publish their 2- and 3-sigma excesses when they see them, waiting for more data that "wipes out" the fluctuation. This is a strong (and probably unsupported) claim!
This morning at the ICNFP 2014 conference in Kolympari (Crete) the floor was taken by Abdelhak Djouadi, who gave a very nice overview of the theoretical implications of the Higgs boson discovery, especially exploring the status of Supersymmetry models.

Djouadi explained how even if the average mass of sparticles is being pushed up in surviving models of Supersymmetry -both because of the negative result of direct searches and because of the effect of hardwiring in the theoretical models the knowledge of a "heavy" lightest scalar particle, which sits at 125 GeV- there is reason to be optimistic. He explained that for stop quarks, it is the geometric mean of their masses that has to be high, but the lightest one may be laying well below the TeV.