Life in a Sofa

Last night, while I was out talking about particle physics in Croydon, my useless family lost the TV remote. Having excluded all the other possibilities, this morning I came to the conclusion there was no option but to subject the sofa to radical surgery.

A few careful slashes with a stanley knife later, here’s the result.

For posterity, here (excluding a very strict definition of actual rubbish) is the inventory…

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See-saws, recycling and the W mass

Earlier this year the CDF collaboration published a measurement of the mass of the W boson which caused something of a stir. I even made it the topic of my slot at the rescheduled “Nine lessons for Curious People” in April. The interest arose principally because the measurement did not agree with the Standard Model of particle physics. It still doesn’t.

The Standard Model is very good as far as it goes, but it leaves important questions unanswered, so we are always on the lookout for a bigger, better theory with even more explanatory power. A very important method of “being on the look out” is to make precise measurements of things which the Standard Model predicts, and see if the predictions are right.

If they aren’t, that should be a big clue to the sought-after better theory.

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A Decade of the Higgs Boson and Beyond

Some bits and pieces on today’s festivities. An article at the Cosmic Shambles Network:

There’s also a live webcast from CERN.

And (along with several others) I talked to Harry Cliff for this excellent New Scientist article, and am extensively quoted.

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The importance of measurements

Having been pretty much bedridden with Covid for most of the week, I am now feeling much better. I still have those two lines on the thingy though, so today have added a cricket match to the list of missed things.

This is my first (known) bout of Covid since the start of the pandemic. Part of me was a little relieved to see the two lines appear on the lateral flow test. There have been a few times over the past years when I have felt rubbish but have come up with negative test results, and I had a nagging doubt I was somehow doing the test wrong.

Well, I wasn’t. Two very clear lines, consistently now for several days. So my comfort is that at least I have not been a bungling superspreader, falsely reassured by crap measurements.

Talking of measurements, he segued smoothly, there are two papers on the arXiv today I’d like to comment on.

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