Archive for April, 2008

One of the most eagerly awaited events of the Part III Return Conference a couple of weeks ago was the chance to revive old rivalies on the CMS foosball table. I’ll cut to the results from the first night: Durham defeats Cambridge: 2-0 Thats right, Durham’s Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology dismantled the Cambridge Dept. […]


I’ve been buried in writing for a while now, but this week there’s a lot of buzz about the Ogden Centre celebrating its fifth birthday. Here’s the blurb from the IPPP news page: A little over five years ago, the Prime Minister inaugurated the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics at Durham University. The Ogden Centre […]

According to the Daily Mail, a pack of black squirrels have invaded Cambridgeshire. This is especially amusing for me because black squirrels are a favourite curiosity among students at Stanford. It appears the little guys have followed me to the UK. The Daily Mail article calls the black squirrels a “mutation” of the grey squirrel […]

Recently I activated my e-mail account for my PhD institution. This was a cause for minor celebration (while writing up one finds excuses for many minor celebrations). You hence can imagine that I was ready to put my fiesta-hat on when I received my first e-mail at this new account. Unfortunately, this was the first […]

I don’t have much experiences with conference-going yet, but with that caveat I must say that the 5th Part III Return Conference at Cambridge the past few days has been a perfect little conference. One of the most precious and underappreciated resources of the Part III is the large community of clever and excited students […]

I’ll be taking a break from MSc. thesis-writing to attend the Fifth Cambridge Return Conference 2008: Theoretical Physics. If anyone is around Cambridge this week, I’ll be giving a talk (“WTF is a B Physics: A talk for string theorists.” [sic]) on Thursday morning at 11am in MR9 of the CMS. I’ll post my slides […]

Today’s LA Times features the LHC on its online frontpage. The article, by John Johnson Jr (what a name!), interviews CERN-TH’s M. Mangano regarding the recent hubbub of universe-ending scenarios. The usual problem with these discussions is that scientific honesty compels physicists to say that yes, environmental dangers are a non-zero but exceedingly small possibility. […]

I’m bogged down at the moment writing up, so hopefully a picture will be worth words. The above comes from a set of physics outreach lectures I gave a few years ago (a “masterclass” in UK parlance). Every child should see a diagram like this at least once. It puts the different sciences in context […]

Einstein is widely recognized for his major contributions to physics, including brownian motion, the photoelectric effect, and relativity. A complete appreciation of his legacy, however, would also include a discussion of his creativity around the hoop, his ankle-breaking cross-overs, and a memorable 81-point performance in Toronto… A relativistic cross-over. Or, er… I suppose that’s actually […]

One last overheard snippet from a theory student at the IOP HEPP Meeting: When I give talks to experimentalists, I make an effort to `dumb-down’ everything I say. Sometimes I really wish they’d extend the same courtesy to me. I’ll be returning to Cambridge in a couple of weeks to take part in one of […]