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Night Life

On the night of my last ATLAS night shift, I recorded some of the more interesting parts of getting from my temporary home in Carouge (south of downtown Geneva) to CERN. The photos and movie below tell a story of … Continue reading Continue reading

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The Microcosm

Times are changing at CERN. With the advent of the LHC the focus of the work has shifted towards the discoveries that will shape the coming decades of particle physics, including the search for the Higgs boson, understanding dark matter, … Continue reading Continue reading

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The night shift

10:45 p.m., a cluster of massive buildings marking the location of the Point 1 Control Room for the ATLAS Experiment. ATLAS is itself 90 meters below the earth. It’s 10:40 p.m. when I leave building 1, cut through a parking … Continue reading Continue reading

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Teaching isn’t just a semester thing

What DOES a professor do during the summer months? I found it amusing – and, to be fair, a bit reminiscent of my own beliefs when I was a student – that several undergraduates at SMU thought I took the … Continue reading Continue reading

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The many faces of eating at CERN

I made some promises to myself for the summer: not too much eating out, regular food shopping, and home-cooked meals. Switzerland and France are expensive places; for instance, a shopping bag containing some vegetables (a few peppers and tomatoes), fruit … Continue reading Continue reading

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Knowing the hardware

Tingting in the testbeam area. Most of the days at CERN are spent in front of a computer, meeting over coffee, or presenting talks. We manipulate data, we talk about calibrations, we discuss quantum mechanics, and we ponder the event … Continue reading Continue reading

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The Routine

We leave Gex, France, just before 9am; I’ve already got one cup of coffee in me, just enough to cut through the fog of having stayed up to midnight working on a project for the ATLAS trigger effort. (It probably … Continue reading Continue reading

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Snapshot: back-of-the-banana physics

Physicists seem to have a reputation, self-made or otherwise, for discussing physics on writing surfaces that are . . . less than typical. The most common phrase for a quick, short, but somewhat accurate calculation is a “back-of-the-envelope calculation,” implying … Continue reading Continue reading

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On the theory of e-mail contraction as distance approaches CERN

Normally, when I wake up in Dallas and get to the point of processing my e-mail, I have 70-100 messages to deal with. That’s because CERN is 7 hours ahead of Dallas, so by the time I wake up half … Continue reading Continue reading

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Stumbling upon CERN

Particle physics is not about traveling, although you tend to travel a lot in this business. It is not about speaking foreign languages or learning foreign customs, although collaboration with colleagues across the globe necessitates both. It is not about … Continue reading Continue reading

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