Tag Archives: interviews

Finally An OPERA Plot that Makes Some Sense

Ok, thanks to a commenter (Titus) to this morning’s post, I learned of information available in the German language press that is vastly superior to anything I had seen previously— much better than today’s New York Times article, because it contains detailed and extensive quotations from a participating scientist on OPERA. [There is nothing like (nearly) first-hand information!] Here is the link:


You can try Google translate and it isn’t awful, but it does contain some important mistakes; my German is good enough to read some more of it but not good enough to do a proper translation for you.  I encourage someone fluent to help us out with a proper translation.    Someone has done so — see the first comment.  [Thanks to the translator!]   [2/26 UPDATE: New comment on the situation added at end of post.]

Facts that one can glean from this article bring me to the following conclusions: Continue reading

Why a Lightweight Higgs is a Sensitive Creature — Part 2

[Note added:  It is official — as expected, at this year’s Chamonix workshop, where the Large Hadron Collider’s [LHC’s] future is planned out each year, it was decided that the LHC’s energy will be increased by 14% next year (from 3.5 TeV energy per proton and 7 TeV energy per collision in 2010-2011 to 4 TeV per proton and 8 per collision.) Also the time between collisions will remain at 50 nanoseconds.  I’ll have some things to say about the pros and cons of this decision, in particular the challenges for the experiments, over the next few days.]

On Monday last week, I gave you half the explanation as to why a lightweight Higgs particle is a sensitive creature, one that is easily altered by new phenomena — by particles and/or forces that we might not yet know about.  It all had to do with an analogy between a violin string (or a guitar string or a xylophone key) and the properties of the Higgs particle.   Today, on the same webpage as the first half, I have provided the second half of the story. (If you have already read the first half, just look for the boldface words “The Diverse Modes of a Higgs’ Demise”, which separate last week’s prose from the new stuff.)  I’ve also added, for particle physicists and for those laypersons who want to go a little deeper, a short quantitative discussion of my main points.

Also: I will have the honor to be interviewed on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Eastern time, at


which you can listen to either live or later.  My interviewer, Tom Levenson, is an eminent science journalist who has written fascinating and surprising books on Einstein and on Newton, among others, won awards for his work on television (e.g. NOVA), has a great blog (and also posts here), and is a professor of science writing at MIT.  In short, he’s a bright and interesting dude whom you should consider following on Twitter, or in whatever way floats your boat in the ocean of social media.  For this reason I suspect that the conversation is going to be a lot deeper and more interesting than the average interview, with the interviewer making at least as many interesting comments about the topic as the interviewee.