- On November 29th at 4PM there will be a presentation at CERN (more details will follow).
- On December 13th at 4.45PM at HERA, in Hamburg, I will present a physics seminar where I will introduce the topic by discussing some material from the book.
- On December 14th at 3PM in Zeuthem, near Berlin, I will give the same seminar as above.
The seminar, in particular, will be titled "Anomaly!: controversial phenomena in CDF data and the five sigma criterion in HEP", and the abstract reads as follows:
The CDF collaboration led for two decades the investigation of the high-energy frontier in the search for new physics at the highest energies until then achieved, provided by the Tevatron collider. In a recently published book the author describes how the experiment handled several unexplained phenomena found in the data, and the complex sociology of a large collaboration divided by different feelings on how to deal with those unexpected findings.
The seminar will start by discussing the history of those anomalies and their resolution, and then focus on the statistical problem of defining a proper discovery level for new phenomena and on the non-trivial issues it entails.
By the way, if you believe there is interest in your institution for a similar seminar, do drop me a line via email or twitter (@dorigo).
Also, if you want more information on "Anomaly!", it's available on the World Scientific web page of the book. And should you desire to pre-order it, you can use Amazon here. I apologize in advance for the not cheap price tag ($48)...
And now for the teaser. This is the beginning of the Prologue of the book.
On a fine afternoon in the early summer of 1998 you are driving on Highway 88 from downtown Chicago to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. You exit on Route 59 heading North, soon make a left on Batavia road, and enter the laboratory from the East entrance. As you proceed West you notice the remarkable skyline of Robert Rathbun Wilson Hall, planted in the middle of a pleasant country scenery of lakes, woods, wildlife, and the occasional piece of junk metal — at least, that is
what the parts of past experiments and accelerators placed here and there might look to your untrained eyes, if you are not a particle physicist. Wilson Hall, a 16-story building made of concrete and glass commonly referred to as “the Hirise,” serves as the administrative center of the lab and hosts offices and facilities for the Fermilab personnel, such as meeting rooms, a cafeteria, a library, and a visitor center.
Proceeding toward the Hirise, you soon find on your left a large industrial building, painted in bright orange. That building hosts the CDF detector, along with the infrastructure needed to operate and service it, and the control room of the experiment. Next to the detector building stand the CDF portakamps, a set of office trailers connected together in a comb-like structure. Dirty white in color and shabby-looking inside out, the trailers are the true headquarters of the experiment. As you enter through one of the many access doors, you get to walk through narrow, poorly lit corridors, lined with posters of past conferences, letter-format notices left hanging way past their expiration date, and paper clips of all kinds, from science-themed cartoons by Gary Larson to fancy pictures of distant galaxies. Each trailer is divided into several 60-square-feet offices, which the resident physicists stuff with their own junk. Workstations sit next to rollerblades; piles of papers crowd every corner; broken coffee makers rest unused on dirty shelves since God-knows-when.
A no-smoking policy is enforced site-wide, but the trailer owned by the Frascati group is for all practical purposes a free zone; despite the clear security issue, no building manager has ever won that battle. Indeed, walking to the end of the corridor toward the office of the group leader, Paolo Giromini, you are likely to plunge into a standing haze of bluish smoke, generated and replenished daily by a pack of Winston cigarettes. The office behind the door is wider than most of the others, yet a decade long stratification of papers, cigarette butts, tea cups, books, logbooks, and scribblings on yellow paper has conquered the whole length of the red L-shaped desk which runs along the wall on two sides of the room; above it, two full rows of white plastic shelves precariously clinging to the
plywood walls suffered a similar fate. On the chair in front of a bulky monitor sits Paolo Giromini, a research director of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), and the de facto head of the Frascati physicists in CDF. He wears thick square glasses; his brown hair is straight and combed on one side. Paolo wears his usual work suit: blue jeans one size too wide, a green Lacoste T-shirt, and a cigarette between his fingers. He is staring at the large screen with a perplexed look.