A Weekend in Connecticut

Well, it’s been a truncated but highly productive week for me. The return to MIT, if only briefly, was meant to focus my efforts on developing the simulation of a background veto system for the proposed “Braidwood Reactor Neutrino Experiment”:http://braidwood.uchicago.edu. One of the primary needs of this experiment is a robust and efficient system capable of protecting our primary detector from the intrusions of muons and neutrons into our experiment.

I’ve completed a few of the development milestones I set out to achieve. The basis of the simulation is a toolkit called “GEANT4”:http://wwwasd.web.cern.ch/wwwasd/geant4/geant4.html. I have spent a lot of time learning how to use this framework (many thanks to the organizer of the SLAC GEANT4 users’ workshop in 2004!). Right now, I’ve managed to make a multi-layered, multi-sided veto detector which is made ofsome well-defined solid material and which can register hits (that is, interactions between a muon and one of the detector elements).

Having managed this, I am very much looking forward to seeing my sister and brother-in-law, as well as my old pal Eric, down in Connecticut during the weekend. It’s only once or twice a year that I get to see any of them, so this will be a real treat for me. This weekend will also be a nice dividing line between the run through this week and the run through next.

Title IX in the Sciences

During the Senate debate on the nominee for Secretary of Education, Senator Wyman of Oregon called on the Federal Government to enforce title IX (famous for its application to college sports programs) in the sciences to correct the balance of men and women represented at increasing levels of authority in science and academia.

I don’t know anything about Title IX, so I went to the Web and found a “resource that gives the full text of Title IX”:http://www.dol.gov/oasam/regs/statutes/titleix.htm. I figure the only way to understand whether applying such a law actually fixes the core problem (or problems) is to understand the law.

Symmetry Magazine features BaBar Data and Event Display

Symmetry Magazine, a joint publication of Fermilab and SLAC, presented its third issue today. The “centerfold” of the issue features a BaBar event containing the Ds*(2317)+ particle, “discovered at BaBar in 2003”:http://www.arxiv.org/abs/hep-ex/0304021. Thanks to Dr. Antimo Palano, who harvested the particle candidates from BaBar’s immense data set, I was able to produce an event display image that showed the striking isolation of the decaying DsJ*(2317)+ in the detector. This image was the central feature of the article, which is a description of the detector information and the detectable particles from the decay.

“Deconstruction: Event Display”:http://www.symmetrymag.org/cms/?pid=1000057

A flurry of flurries

Well, I suppose it’s not exactly **rocking** the Northeast, but it’s definitely snowing again. From inside the house, it didn’t look like very formidable snow. However, after a thorough cleaning of the sidewalks and the car, a single intervening half-hour was all that was required to covere everything in snow again.

Traffic wasn’t all that bad this morning; getting to the Alewife train station took a reasonable period of time, given the weather. Now that I’m nestled in an office here at MIT, all that lazy snow drifting lazily from the sky is a very lovely sight.

All right, enough commentary on the weather! After quite a bit of progress on my work yesterday, I’m hoping to tie some loose ends this morning and really hammer on the physics of my simulations this afternoon. If I have some cool pictures of the simulation, I’ll likely stick them here later.