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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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I am spending some time today at the Altarelli Memorial Symposium, which is taking place at the main auditorium at CERN. The recently deceased Guido Altarelli was one of the leading theorists who brought us to the height of our understanding of the Standard Model of particle physics, and it is heart-warming to see so many colleagues young and old here today - Guido was a teacher for all of us.
I have recently put a bit of order into my records of activities as a science communicator, for an application to an outreach prize. In doing so, I have been able to take a critical look at those activities, something which I would otherwise not have spent my time doing. And it is indeed an interesting look back.


The blogging

Overall, I have been blogging continuously since January 4th 2005. That's 137 months! By continuously, I mean I wrote an average of a post every two days, or a total of about 2000 posts, 60% of which are actual outreach articles meant to explain physics to real outsiders. 

My main internet footprint is now distributed in not one, but at least six distinct web sites:
With CERN's Large Hadron Collider slowly but steadily cranking up its instantaneous luminosity, expectations are rising on the results that CMS and ATLAS will present at the 2016 summer conferences, in particular ICHEP (which will take place in Chicago at the beginning of August). The data being collected will be used to draw some conclusions on the tentative signal of a diphoton resonance, as well as on the other 3-sigma effects seen by about 0.13 % of the searches carried out on previous data this far.
Despite the foul weather that has sieged central Europe in the past few days, with floods, destruction, even deaths, and the occasional evacuation of the auditorium where physicists discussed their recent results, the 28th edition of the "Rencontres de Blois" has taken place as usual.
The conference is a periodic event where particle physics and cosmology are discussed with an attention to interdisciplinarity. It takes place in the city of Blois, in central France, a nice town on the river Loire. There, a sizable number of interesting talks have been taking place in the last few days. But one in particular has stirred the interest of particle physicists worldwide.
I feel one could describe the new B-physics result by ATLAS as "stalking". A very subtle detail of the behavior of neutral B mesons has been recently measured, in search of deviations from Standard Model predictions - or for a confirmation of the model. 
First off I should give some background on what ATLAS is, and what neutral B mesons are. ATLAS is one of the big multi-purpose experiments of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the machine that discovered the Higgs boson in 2012 and which is poised to search for new physics for the next two decades, studying proton-proton collisions at 13 TeV in the center of mass.
In a chapter of the book I have written, "Anomaly! - Collider physics and the quest for new phenomena at Fermilab" (available from September this year), I made an effort to explain a rather counter-intuitive mechanism at the basis of data collection in hadron colliders: the trigger prescale. I would like to have a dry run of the text here, to know if it is really too hard to understand - I still have time to tweak it if needed. So let me know if you understand the description below!

The text below is maybe hard to read as it is taken off context; however, let me at least spend one