Anti-Steve: The Weeks in Review, June 27 – August 9, 2015

[I am posting this now after a bit of a hiatus. It’s been a busy and somewhat unpredictable summer. See below.]

I’ve gone silent for may weeks primarily out of a re-prioritization of my time since returning from CERN. It was a very busy finish to the work period at CERN this summer. The trip home was delightful, though made slightly unpleasant by the fact that Jodi was away when I returned and would not herself return home for a week afterward. Life began to return to something like normal at SMU when I got back, with my focus turning toward our new grant proposal for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The last few weeks have been capped off my some joy and sadness: my sister-in-law and her children are visiting us for a week of vacation, but I had to leave home during this time due to an unexpected death in the family. I am returning home now, looking forward to a few more days with my nephews before getting back to work.

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Anti-Steve: The Week in Review (6/23 – 6/27)

On oldie, but a goodie. This ATLAS event display shows what a "bottom-quark-initiated" jet should look like. Note the presence of a "displaced vertex" in the jet, indicating that the progenitor bottom quark, dressed in a hadronic state, traveled before decaying (or decayed to something that traveled before decaying). This is classic bottom-quark behavior. Note also the presence of a long-lived muon that punches through the whole ATLAS detector. Decays to muons, combined with long-lived particles, "tag" the presence of a bottom quark.
On a touring walk of CERN for the new summer grad students, we found it... THE ANTIMATTER FACTORY! Always knew this thing was real...

On a touring walk of CERN for the new summer grad students, we found it… THE ANTIMATTER FACTORY! Always knew this thing was real…

This was a very good week at CERN. We made some progress on identifying clear physics topics of exploration in the context of Run 2 physics involving H → bb decays. It was the week of the US ATLAS Meeting. Oh, and our new summer grad students arrived on Saturday. I only have 2 weeks left at CERN, so I am trying to make the absolute most of them because the privilege of being able to focus just on physics is going away in 13 days.

It was a really beautiful week on the French/Swiss border – the weather has been excellent and many a long run has been had by yours truly. I’ve been avoiding weighing myself this summer, but just based on how my clothes are hanging on me I’d say my summer goal of dropping 5-10 pounds is coming to be a reality. If I can maintain that when the semester starts, as I had maintained my previous weight during the semesters, life will be very good.

Let’s have a look at some of the specifics.

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Anti-Steve: The Weeks in Review, 6/13 – 6/22

The SMU CERN team, out for dinner on a rainy Saturday night in Geneva, Switzerland.

The SMU CERN team, out for dinner on a rainy Saturday night in Geneva, Switzerland. Not pictured is one of our post-docs, who had just gotten off weeks of “on-call duty” for the experiment and was hopefully getting some much-deserved rest.

It has been an exciting couple of weeks since arriving at CERN. I have been bouncing from hotel to hostel, but mostly getting some physics done. I even found time to take a weekend in Barcelona and visit an old friend of mine. But, the work continues. Meantime, here are some highlights from the last couple of weeks. The first real data for first physics studies arrived on disk from the LHC; ATLAS has one of its “ATLAS Weeks,” the first since data-taking started; I went to Barcelona for the very first time and had my first restful weekend in weeks; some of our contributions to the beginning of Run 2 ATLAS physics have been making the rounds inside the collaboration; we have started to hammer ManeFrame, the SMU computing cluster, to see if it can handle physics analysis in Run 2. Oh, and I have been putting together my part of the new 3-year physics proposal to the US Department of Energy.

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Anti-Steve: The Many Weeks in Review (5/2 – 6/12)

Jodi and I pose in front of the "Temple of Love" in the gardens of Versailles, France.

Jodi and I pose in front of the “Temple of Love” in the gardens of Versailles, France.

It’s been a busy month, and the only reason I am pausing to jot all this down is because I have a cold, and I don’t feel like doing much of anything else. So, let’s do it! The month of May brought with it the end of teaching, graduation, family travel, terrible rains that ended the drought and drowned Texas, and travel to Israel and France that extended into June. Oh, and I was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure!

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