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Another Collider Physics Source

Just a short entry to mention that the blog of my colleague Michael Schmitt, a professor at Northwestern...

New CMS Results

The Large Hadron Collider at the CERN laboratories in Geneva is currently in shutdown, finalizing...

The Quote Of The Week - Shocked And Disappointed

"Two recent results from other experiments add to the excitement of Run II. The results from Brookhaven's...

ECFA Workshop: Planning For The High Luminosity LHC

I am spending a few days in Aix Les Bains, a pleasant lakeside resort in the French southwest,...

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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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"After the 1974 London Conference, with its strong confirmation of the quark model, a general change of view developed with regard to the structure of hadrons. [...] the quark structure of hadrons became the dominant view for developing theory and planning experiments. A crucial element of this change was the general acceptance of QCD, which eliminated the last paradox, namely, why are there no free quarks ? The conjectured infrared slavery mechanism of QCD provided a reason to accept quarks as physical constituents without demanding the existence of free quarks. The asymptotic freedom property of QCD also provided a ready explanation of scaling [...].
One of the nice details lost in the big picture of the Higgs boson discovery of 2012 is that a significant part of the signal put in evidence by ATLAS and CMS is produced by a very special kind of interactions between the protons accelerated by the LHC. These are "vector boson fusion" processes, whereby it is not the protons or its constituents that come in direct contact, but rather, each proton emits a W boson, and it is the latter pair which fuse together, give rise to a Higgs particle.
I reported here a few days ago about a very nice challenge issued by the ATLAS experiment: find Higgs boson decays to tau lepton pairs in a sample containing signal as well as background events, using a training sample with correct signal and background labels per each event.

The challenge consists of solving a typical classification problem in a highly multidimensional space (30 dimensions) better than all other participants - the metric to judge being an "approximate median significance" of the subset of events that the user classifies as "signal". This is given by the formula

AMS = sqrt {2 * [(s+b+10) * log(1 + s/(b+10)) - s] }
I am spending the week in the pleasant resort of La Biodola, in the Elba island. Elba is a beautiful island just off the coast of Tuscany. Here Napoleon was exiled after his abdication in 1814 (he arrived here on May 30th). Exactly 200 years later, 100 Italian researchers have decided to exile themselves here to discuss the future 10 years of accelerator-based experiments, to understand where to "put their money", or better their research activities and efforts.
I came to know through a social network (I have many colleagues as friends there, and they usually post more useful stuff than cute kittens) that ATLAS has launched a very intriguing competition. One you can participate to, if you have some programming skills; no knowledge of particle physics is needed.

The idea is to ask you to classify as signal (Higgs decay to tau lepton pairs, if you really want to know!) or background (anything that looks similar to it but involves no Higgs boson) a set of 550,000 events, for each of which ATLAS gives you 30 kinematical quantities measured in the detector (it is a simulation, but it's a pretty good approximation of reality).
Very recently, a combination of the precise measurements of the mass of the top quark obtained by the CDF and DZERO experiments at the Fermilab Tevatron collider with those produced by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the CERN LHC collider has been produced, obtaining a result of 173.34 GeV, which surprised nobody -of course- with a very small total error bar: 0.76 GeV, a mere 760 MeV, not even a proton's mass.