When I arrived in Chicago this last Sunday for the BOOST conference I had a pretty good idea what new results we were going to show from ATLAS. I also had some rough ideas of what our friends from the other experiments and theory groups would be up to. What I didn’t expect was to see an ad that would fit the conference so nicely!
Now, why do we care about “boost” and what is it?
Let’s say we want to find a pair of top quarks in our detector. You need enough energy in the collision to produce the top quark pair, and if it is just enough they will be “at rest”, i.e. just sit there. Now let’s picture the decay of the two top quarks as two water balloons exploding. The splashes you see are what we would see in the ATLAS detector. But imagine you want to understand which splashes came from which of the two water balloons… This is hard, as there are many different combinations, the water mixes, etc.
That is where “boost” will help!
If we have more energy, we can give both top quarks/balloons a kick – we call them “boosted”. They will fly away from each other and when they decay/explode, the splashes will go into two different directions! Now we can tell them apart! Of course it is more complicated in real life. We have other processes that look similar to the “splashes” the two boosted top quarks make, but we can distinguish them by analyzing the inner structure of the splashes.
This is what the BOOST conference is about, in essence: understanding how we can use the boost to our advantage when searching for new phenomena.
It actually does work and it is a lot of fun!
Boost and never look back!