Travelogue: CERN, Jan 26. – Feb. 1

Jan. 26, 2014 – 03:18 CET

I am on AA50 to Heathrow. We land in about 7 hours, leaving me 2 hours to connect to my flight to Geneva. Right now I am hopimng for two things: dinner and 5 hours of sleep. Dinner is on its way. I cannot predict the sleep.

I will be at CERN this week for a mini-workshop and to collaborate on a paper, face-to-face (for a change), with some colleagues. ATLAS is beginning to pour on the pressure to publish it, though we still have some key physics to understand.

I’ll be presenting at the mini-workshop on Tuesday. I still have to write the talk . . . but what decent high-energy physicist writes their talk 2 days early?

OK . . . time for dinner

Jan. 30, 2014 – 08:00 CET

The first two days of this trip to CERN have been excellent. There was, of course, the usual travel hassle in Heathrow. Transitioning from my flight from the U.S. was a simple as usual: exit the plane, take all the manual stairs and walkways to get ahead of the tired and slow people, and get on the bus to Terminal 5. Then go through passport check and security before emerging next to Huxley’s, a restaurant I will usually eat at if I arrive late enough in the morning.

As a rule, I don’t eat my first meal in Europe until the late morning. Even if I am starving when I get off the place, I tell myself: “It’s only 3 in the morning – you don’t eat a meal at 3 in the morning.” My digestive clock is a tricky one to mess with. For instance, if I get up at 4am for an ATLAS meeting, I won’t eat or drink anything except water until about 6am; if I eat too early, I have an upset stomach for the rest of the day. The same rule seems to apply when I transition from the U.S. to Europe. If I eat anything before about 11am or noon in the UK, I won’t feel well for the rest of the day.

So I waited at Heathrow until just before my gate opened before grabbing a banana and a coffee. The plane from Heathrow to Geneva was delayed by mechanical problems with the front wheel, but that was OK. Arriving LATER on the first day is usually my goal, since I am so tired that all I want to do is sleep anyway.

I’d had about 5 hours of sleep on the flight from the US, but I was still feeling spacey and loopy during my morning in the UK. By the time I arrived at CERN, around 4:00pm CET, I was feeling very run down. So I did what I usually like to do now when I arrive back at CERN: I went for a run.

It was just fading into the evening when I hit the roads on CERN, jogging a loop around the Meyrin site. By the time I got back to my hostel room, I felt alert and refreshed. It’s been in the 30s here at CERN – not freezing, but hovering above it. However, bundled up in a hood with a mask to cover my mouth (and trap warm air near my face), a hat, a pair of thermal running pants, a pair of normal running pants over those, a long-sleeved running shirt, and a bright yellow running jacket, I stay rather warm when I run here.

After running, I went for dinner and worked on my talk for the ATLAS mini-workshop on Tuesday. I headed to sleep around 8:30 pm, and I was out like a light.

My second day – the day of the workshop – was my usual “space day.” I awoke after about 10 hours of sleep feeling completely displaced. Breakfast and coffee helped. The leader of the ATLAS Beyond-the-Standard Model group met with me for breakfast to work on my talk, and he had a lot of important things to discuss with me about the material so that was great. The workshop took iup most of Tuesday, and was one of the most productive of my time on ATLAS. I learned a LOT from the people presenting and attending at the workshop. In particular, I learned some important tricks about matching the underlying quarks and hadrons to the “jets” of reconstructed particles we see in the detector; this will aid greatly in a development project that I am working on. In addition, there are so many bits of tools, software, and methodology now developed for working on the “high-luiminosity” LHC upgrade scenario that there were few other places I could have learned this material in one shot.

After a great workshop, I grabbed dinner and got some work done. I’ve been dealing with tendonitis in my left arm for a few weeks, so when the pain got unbearable last night I went to sleep. Normally, my second night is my worst night of sleep – something to do with the jet lag kicking in hard when you get that first sleepy night out of the way – but I slept all night without incident.

So here’s to Wednesday! 🙂

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