Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 5 at CERN: It's not just about meeting people or attending lectures

Sure, I managed to meet with the current spokesperson of the LHCb (b stands for the beauty/bottom quark, which is one of the two third generation quark, the other being 'top,' that are beloved of the HE physicists) experiement. Today is also when I get the clarification of how physicists would define the term 'phenomenology,' which is the effort to correlate data with existing theoretical models, and to try to find a meeting point between both.

Today, I heard of the Penguin diagram in the sketching of the CP violation in quarkonia.
I was informed of this of course by the spokesperson but someone has blogged about this way ahead of me. In fact, the penguin image came from that blog.

Now, in my own work, am I able to sublimate all the images I can and will get from CERN (and other national laboratories) to develop a new ontological perspective?

Beyond that, I managed to dig up some papers by the theoretical physicists affiliated with CERN, and read the paper "Understanding the Standard Model, as a bridge to the discovery of the new phenomena of LHC," by Michelangelo Mangano. This blog entry gives a good summary of what goes on in there, to the non physicist. However, this paper cautions about making every little differences or discrepancies the focal point of possible new discoveries. In fact, what may seemed novel at first glance, but theorists are later able to provde correlative points after taking into account the possible lack of higher-order corrections (thus sensitivity that may be able to diagnose or 'cut' out the anomalous datum. If you do not have the patience to read through the entire paper (the only hard part would be in dealing with the jargons, there are not math involved), I suggest at least reading the conclusion where Mangano summarizes the need for continuous feedback and and cross-checks between the experimentalists and the theorists.  There is not yet any discovery of the unexpected at this point in time, according to Mangano. I think it would be really interesting if I could get to interview some of the theoretical physicists there and get their philosophy of physics.

Right now, am reading chapter two of the accelerator physics books I mentioned from yesterday. I may consider taking a crash course at Fermilab when I do my fieldwork there at a later stage.  I didn't do too much today as I crashed in the afternoon to recover from what I thought was an incipient flu.  However, I did manage to sit in for the second lecture on how one goes from raw data to physics. I think the summer students were pretty restless by that time, and the lectures are reminiscent of the kinds I had to go through during summer school last year, and not all of them were delivered in the most compelling fashion, however compelling the subject matter. But I will need to read through them to get a better grasp of the subjects I am dealing with. Next week should be fun, with more control room visits, shifts, some meetings and attending of the more theoretical lectures.

Did I mention that I saw a copy of Andrew Pickering's "Constructing Quarks" at the CERN library? He is the only sociologist of science whose work has made it there, as far as I could see.

Here is a 'live' clip from the ATLAS control room. You'll only be able to see the updates if you've an internal CERN account (I don't think it will work on an external CERN account that anyone can apply to get).

No comments:

Post a Comment