End-of-Summer: Teaching at SMU-in-Taos

The eight students in our August Term Astronomy course, photographed along with us and the new teaching telescope ("Peruna's Scope") that we were able to purchase thanks to an SMU President's Partners Grant.
The eight students in our August Term Astronomy course, photographed along with us and the new teaching telescope (“Peruna’s Scope”) that we were able to purchase thanks to an SMU President’s Partners Grant.

The summer was mostly filled with research, and, in fact, this made for a very productive summer. By the end of July, the physics analysis that I work on within the ATLAS Collaboration – the search for H->bb decay (Higgs decays to bottom quarks) – was presented publicly at the International Conference on High-Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Chicago [1]. We were only able to finish the analysis in time for a big summer conference using part of the available data, and by now we’ve collected nearly twice the data that was used for ICHEP, which means that the upcoming cycle of winter conferences will be stressful and, I hope, exciting.

The end of summer is marked on my experiment by vacations. My European colleagues take nearly all of August off. As a result (and because, as a faculty member, I am not paid for work for most of August), I also usually take vacation. Not this year. This year, Jodi and I did something we’ve talked about for years: co-taught a course on the Taos Campus of SMU (SMU-in-Taos). So while physics analyses from ATLAS and CMS were being shown off in Chicago, Jodi and I hit the road for Taos, NM and 12 intense teaching days.

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