On 28 March at around nine in the evening, I boarded a flight bound for the Philippines at Geneva airport. I have been there many times in the past to visit my extended family but this trip was different. I was part of the organising committee for the first CERN School Philippines, an eight-day event that brought together lecturers from CERN, Taiwan, and the Philippines itself, with the goal of strengthening national, regional, and international ties in theoretical and experimental particle physics.
Last week, the (many) visitors that came to Point 5, the location of the CMS Experiment in the LHC ring, had the opportunity to see not only the underground experimental cavern, but also how the data-taking is performed from the control room. This is not really common because when we are taking collision data, the detector is not accessible, and when it is accessible, it is because we are not taking data.
What happened last week then?
"Yesterday's sensation is today's calibration." - R. P. Feynman
"...and tomorrow's background." - V. L. Telegdi
One of the interesting things about finding a new particle is how much you can learn about it: from the manifold theory predictions for the Higgs boson that brought the Nobel Prize of 2013 to François Englert and Peter Higgs we have barely scratched the experimental surface.
Recently the Tevatron reported the observation of the production of single top quarks in the s-channel. Last Tuesday there was a very interesting seminar at CERN presenting the results that also was a nice overview on the timeline of single top physics at the Tevatron. This discovery is a big deal. The s-channel was the last one still to be observed from the three main single-top production modes, the other two being the t-channel and the tW associated production .