1. 2011

    CTEQ summer school postmortem analysis

    Only 3 weeks late (blame web server troubles), I figure it’s time for me to write a wrapup post about my experience at the CTEQ summer school. Of course, I’m not really sure what to write, other than that it was awesome. If you’re ever in a position to go, I highly recommend it.

    As I mentioned in another post, the school is basically an opportunity to go listen to presentations on QCD from members of the CTEQ collaboration and guest speakers that they invite. This means that there are some pretty big names there. And there are plenty of chances to interact with them. We had four one-hour lectures each day (every speaker invariably begged to be interrupted with questions), plus mealtimes (everybody ate in the same dining hall), plus an evening “recitation” which was really just an open Q&A with the day’s speakers, plus a “night cap” a.k.a. the CTEQ Happy Hour ;-)

    Of course, there was a lot of physics to be learned. Basically, the school was divided into two halves of four days each: the first half consisting of lectures covering the fundamentals of QCD and quantum field theory (the …

  2. 2011

    Guess the author: a (drinking+physics)/sqrt(2) game

    Big news out of the CTEQ school tonight: we discovered that the various Twitter feeds which announce new arXiv papers only show you the title of the paper, not the author — not until you click on the link, anyway. So here’s a neat way to have fun at parties: someone who has a smartphone (or tablet) with a Twitter app brings up one of the aforementioned feeds, like HEPExperPapers, picks a paper title, and everyone tries to guess who the authors are, or at least which research group or institution is behind it. Anything with \(\sqrt{s} = \unit{7}{\tera\electronvolt}\) doesn’t count. Converting this into a drinking game is easy, you just drink every time you get it wrong. (i.e. every time) Or every time you get it right. (i.e. never) Or just have a beer in hand. I’m sure that’s within the error bars.

    Oh, and for the record: one of the people behind this brilliant idea happens to be the chair of a major university’s physics department.

  3. 2011

    CTEQ summer school day 1

    How many physicists does it take to go through a buffet line?

    For some reason, this is one of the defining questions of my first day at the CTEQ summer school. (The answer, by the way, is “all of them.”) Nothing brings scientists together quite like coffee and donuts, except perhaps figuring out exactly where the end of the coffee-and-donut line is.

    I won’t be posting daily updates or anything, but I figured this whole “sharing experiences” thing is just what normal people do with blogs, so why not try it? I arrived in Madison on Sunday, which shall henceforth be referred to as “yesterday,” and the first thing I noticed was how fancy the housing accommodations are. Granted, they’re probably putting us in the nicest building on campus, but seriously, no other college I’ve been to has anything like this: a 24-hour front desk, in-building dining, lounges on every floor, bathrooms with walled and curtained shower stalls, individual rooms with a mini-fridge and TV (equipped with expanded basic cable), daily housekeeping service… okay, to be fair the students never get most of that. But still, it’s remarkable how much the housing accommodations feel like a …