Physics

My CMS colleague Didar Dobur, who chairs the "Top Properties" working group in the experiment, presented today the first observation of the process whereby a top quark is produced in association to a Z boson. I could follow the presentation by videoconference, so I am blogging about this result in close to real time, for a change.
What machine will replace the Large Hadron Collider to further our knowledge of fundamental physics at the high-energy frontier, in the forthcoming decades? 

The question is not at all a far-fetched one: these large machines require two decades to be built - and can then typically be operated for two further decades, amassing collision data that slowly but steadily improve the precision of our estimates of the parameters of nature.

22 transgender people on the list of those killed by violence.  Most of whom are transgender women of color.  Transgender visibility week is underway and last from November 13 to 19th every year.  The day of remembrance, November 20th, has been observed by the trans community since 1998.UPDATE:Crunchyroll.com a localize of anime into US English choose to accurately translate a character as transgender rather than applying the word trap to them as done in the past. A number of us made them aware of the issue and the effect of that word and they listened.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, there is a workshop going on this week at Fermilab, where 110 attendees - mostly particle physicists, but some computer scientists are also present - discuss how to push for more effective use of machine learning tools in the extraction of information on particle collisions. 

Also one goal is to understand what new ideas from the world of machine learning could find ideal applications in the typical use cases of research in fundamental physics. Here I wish to mention a few interesting things that I heard at the workshop so far, in random order. I will rarely make direct reference to the talks, to encourage you to dig into the pdf files available here.
I flew to the US yesterday to get to Fermilab, where I am following a workshop titled Machine learning for jet physics". My goal of this post is to explain what this is about in general terms, such that if I have enough stamina I will give, in follow-ups to it, a few examples of the status of this interesting research activity, which encompasses particle physics and computer science and can provide spin-offs in a number of related areas of fundamental research.
What is Dark Matter (DM) and why should you care? I feel I should start this article by explaining these two things first, as we live in an age when nobody has time for long historical or context-setting introductions. 
Before you brush off this post with the answer "of course", let me qualify the title. Of course anybody can become a particle physicist, although the learning curve can be steep and hard to climb up. But what I mean here is, can a student who has been trained as a statistician (through his or her bachelor and master degree) become a successful experimental particle physicist, without investing other years of his or her life in studying quantum mechanics and lots of other arcane physics topics ?
Particle physics has been historically the ground of long-standing scientific challenges between the US and Europe, especially since the birth of the CERN laboratories in 1954. And in parallel, another challenge has kept the field alive and thriving for over half a century: the one between theoretical and experimental physics. 

Alessandro Strumia, needs to have had a five minute talk with the late great Ben Barres.  Dr Barres was fond of telling a story where he heard how much his work was “better than your sister’s”.   Ben was a female to male transguy.   For those unfamiliar with the lingo started out a woman … then transitioned to living as a man.    This is a clumsy and non-PC way to put it I know… but when preaching to people one must speak their language.   Transgender scientist can tell you all about how different gender-based stereotypes and assumptions affect us.

The world of particle physics is in turmoil because of a presentation by Alessandro Strumia, an Italian phenomenologist, at CERN's "1st workshop on high energy theory and gender", and its aftermath. 
By now the story has been echoed by many major newscasters around the world, and discussed in public and private forums, blogs, twitter feeds. I wanted to stay away from it here, mainly because it is a sensitive issue and the situation is still evolving, but after all, why not offer to you my personal pitch on the matter? Strumia, by the way, has been an occasional commenter to this blog - you can find some of his comments signed as "AS" in threads of past articles. Usually he makes good points here, as long as physics is the subject.