13th July 2010 – “In a sense, life is never as you've foreseen it to be. This is also true for natural laws, and that's why I like to be a physicist so much,” Pascal Pralavorio says as he explains what makes discovery so interesting for him.
Pascal seems to have a trend flowing through his life: to strategise and plan, to accept the consequences of discovery, and to enjoy the ride. For him, to explore is everything. With such varied interests as physics, singing, and playing guitar, piano, and games of strategy, it is apparent that he has a love for the thinking process. Pascal enjoys what he encounters unexpectedly, and especially what stems from the toughest parts of problematic situations.
14th June 2010 – Going into his new position with Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand ('Wits' for short), Trevor Vickey sees his brief as “a sort of linear combination between a professorship and a Peace Corps assignment”. The tenure-track Senior Lecturer post will take him to a brand new continent, but, he says, he made the original application “on a whim” after five years as an ATLAS postdoc.
6th June 2010 – Do you hear that? The incessant typing? The coffee machines vending cup after cup? If you go to Building 40, or Building 32, Building 188, or to any one of the many graduate student offices around the world, you will hear the tap of key boards, the whir of disk drives, and even the occasional heated civil discussions with "elevated" voices.
25th May 2010 – When the detector is running smoothly, neighbors in the ATLAS control room sometimes get conversational. A few days back I was on shift, quietly looking at plots on the monitor in front of me, trying to decide if one small sensor was misbehaving or not. “I have a question,” the shifter next to me said.
23rd April 2010 – ATLAS has been designed to detect rare events in high energy proton-proton collisions. ATLAS ultimate goal is to measure events as rare as one in several thousand billions, but we are modest (for the time being) waiting for the luminosity to rise.
13th April 2010 – Rachid Mazini grew up in Casablanca, Morocco. Although he’s now a big fan of rugged terrain, he spent his youth as a “city boy” with holidays on the Atlantic shoreline. It wasn’t until he started university in Marrakech that he began to explore the mountains – the Atlas range, in fact.
6th April 2010 – Now that the LHC has established colliding stable beams at a center of mass energy of 7 TeV, the next step to maximize its physics reach is to provide the most luminosity possible. As Leo posted, we need to increase the number of proton - proton collisions to make sure we have a chance of seeing the physics that we are looking for. The reason for that is because different p.hysics processes have different probabilities. These probabilities are referred to as cross-sections (in a vague reference to the particle's size). If one multiplies a cross section by a luminosity than what you get is a number of events.
2nd April 2010 – I was home sick today, probably from the stress of getting ready for "M-Day" (aka Media Day), more likely though I finally succumbed to the cold that had been spreading through the Control Room. As it so happened, my laptop had been in the shop because it experience an "incident" (actually I just dropped it) last Monday (the week before Media Day), and I just picked it up yesterday.