Friday, September 21, 2012

Chu and CMS' Incandela's DOE Higgs talk

Steve Chu is going to get some positive TRF publicity. ;-)

A week ago, Joe Incandela, the boss of CMS, gave a talk for the Department of Energy. Nobel prize winner Steven Chu who happens to be a secretary at the department gave an introduction. In the U.S., you may become a secretary even if you're neither a hot blonde nor a hot brunette.

I think it's a rather neat setup and talk so if you have 80 minutes, you may want to watch it.

Another official's 2-minute pre-introduction is ideological and annoying (clean energy, Fukushima "disaster", and all this rubbish) but you may survive it. Chu is much more sensible. He mentions that Incandela did his thesis on monopoles but what he observed with his three friends at the North Pole turned out to be not so. ;-)

Chu continues with a sketch of modern physics theories. His presentation is a bit more accurate than Bill Clinton's version of these facts.

At the beginning of Incandela's talk, he makes a joke about his string theory colleague in Santa Barbara who told Incandela he was not really interested in the results from the LHC because they only applied to this Universe. ;-) Try to guess the name of the string theorist. I hope that Joe Polchinski hasn't gone this far in the anthropic change of personality!

Incandela talks about masses of particles, the Higgs mechanism etc. but already at 28:00 or so, he gets to supersymmetry and gauge coupling unification, mentioning that it's Edward Witten's most favorite argument in favor of SUSY. Incandela also says that SUSY predicts the right percentage of dark matter, near 25%.

Dark energy will be taxed on one day – a joke emulating Michael Faraday's serious comment – and Incandela proposes a Department of Dark Energy. Well, the left-wingers are ready to tax everything, including CO2 we breathe out, so there's no reason why the cosmological constant should be an exception.

He also gets to extra dimensions and shows his house near the LHC. Comments about the rings near the LHC, temperatures, magnets follow. Construction of the detectors, composition of the collaborations. Newsweek wrote on its cover about the "biggest experiment ever, and it's European". Except that it's a cover of three lies. The picture shows CMS which is not the biggest experiment ever: ATLAS is greater; Americans are welcome; and everything on the picture was made in California. :-)

Bunches of protons, how many. What you create during collisions. Triggers, elimination of events, petabytes to be stored, computer centers. Higgs search in detail, dependence of decay rates on the Higgs mass, Higgs as bump. Bumps growth between 2011 and 2012. P-values for the diphoton and ZZ channels.

The first question at 1:07:00 asks why it's hard to quantize gravity. Incandela seems confused, especially because he hasn't talked about those things at all. So he just says that gravity isn't a part of the Standard Model and it's a task for string theory to include it. Gravity could only be detected with extra dimensions.

Two minutes later, a guy asked a confused question what it means for the bumps to be aligned but he meant bump in the branching ratio charts. Around 1:14:00, Incandela says that some intermediate papers for Kyoto will be published by November (double data) but the triple data will appear in March 2013. Then break.

A question on magnetic monopoles. Everyone used to believe it; ruled out by experiments. No evidence anywhere today. A question and answer on the complementarity and differences between CMS and ATLAS.

At the very end, Chu praises the complexity of the device and also talks about a Christmas present and supersymmetry (which we "desperately" want to see) and compares the energy content of the Swiss chocolate (=the field that a few moments on your lips become years on your hips, funny) and TNT – reaching a clearly wrong result on the latter question, hopefully not the former one. ;-)


  1. Thanks for the nice summary of the talk :-)

    I will use it later today to cheer me up since I'm annoyed about the fact that Sean Carroll has announced Joseph Conlon's nice new site too, but not surprisingly the correspondig comment section is already full of trolls and sourballs :-(

    People who refuse to moderate the comments appropriately to keep the trolls out should not write about or mention any BSM physics and least string theory :-(0).

    The only two places left where I can peacefully learn about these cool things are TRF and physics SE, where one can flag insulting comments and posts if needed.

  2. Dear Dilaton, I think that Carroll meant his comment "I wanted to post something uncontroversial" as a joke - even though I agree with you that there should be nothing joking about it because there is nothing controversial about string theory, except among trolls and sourballs. ;-)

  3. Yep, that was a very nice talk to watch :-)

    What did Incandela hint at, when trying to explain after a corresponding question where the coupling constants could come frome at 1:12 ? I think I heard something like this nicesly explained with pictures and more detailled not for the first time ... :-D


  4. I think its a good informative video, Thanks a lot for this wonderful site