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Weekend Plot: ultimate demise of diphoton Higgs excess

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Resonaances

This weekend's plot is the latest ATLAS measurement of the Higgs signal strength ? in the diphoton channel: Together with the CMS paper posted earlier this summer, this is probably the final word on Higgs-to-2-photons decays in the LHC run-I. Show More Summary

Raise a martini glass for Google and Martinis!

We’ve already been discussing this in the comments section of my previous post, but a few people emailed me to ask when I’d devote a separate blog post to the news. OK, so for those of you who haven’t yet heard: this week Google’s Quantum AI Lab announced that it’s teaming up with John Martinis, of the University of California, […]

Higgs what?

In these days it has been announced the new version of Review of Particle Physics by the Particle Data Group (PDG). This is the bread and butter of any particle physicist and contains all the relevant data about this area of research. It is quite common for us to search the on-line version or using […]

Quick Links

Well worth reading is High Energy Colliding Beams; What Is Their Future, by Burton Richter. Richter is one of the pioneers of designing and building colliders, and he starts off by recounting some of the history. About proposals for a … Continue reading ?

Forecasting the future

Physicists and other scientists use the GEANT4 toolkit to identify problems before they occur. Physicists can tell the future—or at least foresee multiple possible versions of it. They do this through computer simulations. Simulations...Show More Summary

What I Read on My Summer Vacation

Three weeks in Europe means a lot of time on planes and trains, so I actually got to read some fiction for a change. I’m stuck in a meeting all day today, and need a morale boost on the way in, so I’ll go back to my book-blogging roots and type up the books that…


The LHC long shutdown (LS1) seems to be progressing on schedule, with physics collisions at 13 TeV planned for early April 2015. I’d guess the earliest 13 TeV results might appear at the summer 2015 conferences. The long term plan … Continue reading ?

Two Tenure-Track Faculty Positions at Union

I’ve posted this before, but a reminder can’t hurt: We’re hiring two tenure-track faculty this fall. The targeted research fields: We invite applications for two tenure-track Assistant Professor positions starting in September 2015, one in any area of theoretical physics or astrophysics, the other with a strong preference for biophysics or soft condensed matter (either…

Watching ‘the clock’ at the LHC

As time ticks down to the restart of the Large Hadron Collider, scientists are making sure their detectors run like clockwork. For the last two years, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN has been quietly slumbering while engineers andShow More Summary

Medium, Message, and Secondary Audiences in Public Speaking

Having just returned from a long trip where I gave three talks, one of the first things I saw when I started following social media closely again was this post on how to do better presentations. The advice is the usual stuff– more images, less text, don’t read your slides, and for God’s sake, rehearse…

Detectors in daily life

Not only are particle detectors essential to making discoveries in particle physics, they also play important roles in industry, science and medicine. Ask someone what our world would look like if there were no cars or no telephones and they’ll probably have an immediate answer. Show More Summary

Meanwhile, Somewhere Down South…

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

So while at a hotel somewhere down South for a few days (pen and watercolour pencil sketch to the right), I finally found time to sit and read Graham Farmelo's book "The Strangest Man", a biography of Dirac. (It has a longer subtitle...Show More Summary

How to Teach Physics to Your Dog, Now With More “Quantum”

If you’re making your weekly check of the ebook editions (a href=”>Kindle, Nook) of my quantum...Show More Summary

Nordita Workshop for Science Writers: Wrap-Up

I didn’t write a summary of the third day of “Quantum Boot Camp” to go with my Day One and Day Two summaries for a simple reason: I would’ve needed to do that on Saturday, and I spent Saturday in transit back to the US. More than that, though, it was harder to summarize than…

Very Belated LonCon Write-Up

I’m up way too early with jet lag, looking over Twitter, and ran into Nick Falkner’s report on the TED panel I moderated at Worldcon, which reminded me that I never did write anything about the con. Late is probably still better than never, so here are some quick long-after-the-fact comments about my program items:…

Massive neutrino experiment proposed in China

China’s neutrino physics program could soon expand with a new experiment aimed at cracking a critical neutrino mystery. Physicists have proposed building one of the largest-ever neutrino experiments in the city of Jiangamen, China, about 60 miles outside of Hong Kong. Show More Summary

And Back…

2 months agoAcademics / Physics : Asymptotia

It is a new semester, and a new academic year. So this means getting back into the routine of lots of various aspects of the standard professor gig. For me this also involves being back in LA and taking the subway, and so this means getting (when it is not too busy as it seems to get a lot now) to sketch people. Show More Summary

Nordita Workshop for Science Writers, Day Two

The second day of the “Quantum Boot Camp” was much lighter on talks. The only speaker was Ray Laflamme from the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, who gave a nice introduction to quantum technologies. While he did spend a bit of time at the start going through Shor’s algorithm for factoring numbers (following up…

Use the Moment Map, not Noether’s Theorem

For a fourth provocative slogan about quantum mechanics I’ve chosen: Use the moment map, not Noether’s Theorem. Pretty much every physics textbook these days explains the way symmetry principles work as: Start with an action functional, invariant under a Lie … Continue reading ?

Do theoretical computer scientists despise practitioners? (Answer: no, that’s crazy)

A roboticist and Shtetl-Optimized fan named Jon Groff recently emailed me the following suggestion for a blog entry: I think a great idea for an entry would be the way that in fields like particle physics the theoreticians and experimentalists get along quite well but in computer science and robotics in particular there seems to […]

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