The book "Anomaly! Collider physics and the quest for new phenomena at Fermilab" is about to be published, after a somewhat long and anti-climatic wait. And the first presentation events are being scheduled here and there.
If you are at CERN I hope I will see you at the CERN library (bldg 52) on November 29th, at 4PM. The book should already be available for retail by then. On that occasion I will just chat a little about the contents, answer questions, and maybe read one or two paragraphs to those of you who will come by.

The event is detailed in this indico page.

In the meantime, you could decide to get your copy by ordering it at amazon, or better at World Scientific (the publisher), where until December 31st you will be able to benefit of a 20% discount on the cover price, if you mention the code WSSLPS20 in the order. (Yes, I do know the book price is kind of high - I apologize, I would have wanted it to cost one dollar... It is a publisher's choice).Oh, and BTW - the electronic version will be out in a few months.

The book tells the story of searches for new physics with the CDF experiment, which led frontier research in particle physics for over two decades at the turn of the millennium. There are two introductory chapters that allow even perfect outsiders to become familiar enough with the topic to be able to enjoy the rest of the narrative. There follow 10 chapters devoted to the history of the top quark discovery and to the description of how the collaboration handled several anomalous effects that could be interpreted as new physics or more mundane glitches. Here are the book contents:

  • The Standard Model and Beyond
  • The Tevatron and the Collider Detector at Fermilab
  • Revenge of the Slimeballs
  • The Road to the Top
  • Run 1
  • Top-Quark Battles
  • The Discovery of the Top Quark
  • The Impossible Event
  • Preon Dreams
  • A Personal Interlude
  • The Superjets Affair
  • Scalar Quarks?

The above chapters are complemented by an introduction, a prologue, an epilogue, and two indexes which should allow you to search for names and topics. I invite you to learn more about the book by visiting the World Scientific page of the book, which contains a synopsis and several endorsements by leading theorists and authors of books on particle physics.

Below is a short quote from the "Prologue" of the book, which "sets the stage" of the narration. I hope I'll see you next Tuesday at CERN!


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 soon 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 are going to 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, 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 de facto a free zone; despite the clear security issue no building manager has ever won that battle. Indeed, walking to the end of the corridor towards the office of the Frascati 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 long ago 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; hist thick 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.