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The Era Of The Atom

"The era of the atom" is a new book by Piero Martin and Alessandra Viola - for now the book is...

Guess the Plot

I used to post on this blog very abstruse graphs from time to time, asking readers to guess what...

Fun With A Dobson

It is galaxy season in the northern hemisphere, with Ursa Mayor at the zenith during the night...

The Season Of Muons

Particle physics is so cool - you get to build huge detectors with a specific goal clearly stated...

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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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Great - after posting a blog on alpha_strong and the new CMS measurement of its value yesterday, today I am leaving for the US. My internet connection is going to be shaky during my trip, and right now I am living on the free airport wifi in Paris, waiting to board on my flight. But fortunately, I don't need to worry about answering the comments I receive to that post  - in fact the two main commenters, Vladimir and John, are answering each other well enough that I do not need to intervene...
One of the funniest misnomers in particle physics is the naming of coupling strength parameters of the fundamental interactions as "constants".

We speak of a fine structure constant (alpha) to address one of the most important parameters of electromagnetism; and we call "strong coupling constant" the coupling strength parameter alpha_s of QCD. But these are not constants at all! In fact, they are parameters that show a quite distinct dependence on the energy of subatomic processes.
Diet Is Over

Diet Is Over

Dec 04 2014 | 13 comment(s)

Four months ago I started a diet, as my weight had gone above my comfort zone (77kg, when my optimal weight is of about 70kg). I basically implemented a regime (which has worked in the past) of about 1300 calories a day, cutting mostly on extras (desserts, snacks, alcohol) and bread, and just eating a bit less of everything.
I remember a funny shirt I once saw at a physics conference - it gave 10 tips on what to do when "everything else fails". Here is the list:
10. Subtract Infinity
9. Add heavy fermions
8. Set all fermion masses to zero
7. Invent another symmetry
6. Throw it on the lattice
5. Blame it on the Planck scale
4. Recall the success of the SM
3. Invoke the Anthropic Principle
2. Wave hands a lot, speak with a strong accent
1. Manipulate the data
Yesterday I worked from scratch at a problem which certainly others have already solved in the past. I have mixed feelings with such situations: on one side I hate to reinvent the wheel, especially if there is an easy way to access a good solution; on the other I love to invent new ones...


Anyway this time I have decided I will ask you for some help, as collectively we may have a better idea of the optimal solution to the specific problem I am trying to address. But before I explain the problem, let me give you some background on the general context.

Searches for new physics at the LHC
A week ago I offered readers of this blog to review a paper I had just written, as its publication process did not include any form of screening (as opposed to what is customary for articles in particle physics, which receive multiple review stages). That's not the first time for me: in the past I did the same with other articles, and usually I received good feedback. So I knew this could work.