Particle & astro-particle physics annual UK meeting

The annual UK particle physics and astroparticle physics conference was hosted by Imperial this week, and has just finished. Some slightly random highlights.

Dark Matter PDG

Goals (slide from the plenary talk by Chris McCabe, KCL)

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Observation of a previously unseen behaviour of light

Evidence  Observation: Another update from the arXiv – this went (well) over 5 sigma today (link to ATLAS paper at the bottom of the article).

Life and Physics

Beams of light do not, generally speaking, bounce off each other like snooker balls. But at the high energies in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN they have just been observed doing exactly that


At the Guardian.

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Another pentaquark (now on arXiv)

This result is on the arXiv this morning (see link added).

Life and Physics

I was earlier into work than usual this morning after talking about a new pentaquark discovered by LHCb and reported just now in the Moriond QCD meeting.

rjnEven so, when I got in, Ryan was already there, well into his Noνa data taking shift.

After confusion and controversy on various experiments (including mine) over several years, LHCb reported the first solid observation of two pentaquark states in 2015. This result adds a third, and also reveals that one of the others may in fact be two, with slightly different masses.

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Reinterpreting Results

I’m Down South this week at Imperial College, for a meeting on “(Re)interpreting the results of new physics searches at the LHC”.


Given the lack of obvious signs of physics beyond the Standard Model (particularly supersymmetry at accessible energies), theoretical ideas are diversifying. This makes it increasingly important that we record and publish our data in a way that it can be used to probe a range of new models, some of which haven’t yet been thought of.

Essentially, if you don’t ask the right question of the data, you won’t really know what the answer means. Imagine doing a search for an imaginary extra-dimensions model say, finding that it doesn’t exist, and being told that when you said “no” to that model you’d also definitively ruled out the single market, EFTA, EEA, a customs union, and freedom of movement. If you haven’t asked the question properly you won’t know whether that’s true, and it is quite tricky going back to redo the experiment.

Ok sorry, politics leaking into physics posts is annoying. But not, I suggest, as annoying as still trying to explain your April Fools joke two days after the event (see image above).


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