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Where Have I Been? November 25, 2006

Posted by gordonwatts in physics life.

I’ve not posted much over the past few days. You might wonder… what happened? The short answer to where have I been is “Not Sleeping.”

The long answer is “Trying to complete an analysis” — to the detriment of almost everything else in my life. It was supposed to be a short thing; take maybe a week. As they say… Ops…

When I took this on a week ago Thursday I knew I was signing up for 4 or 5 days of hell. And I had it finished in time to present Wednesday as well. It was pretty cool; had an measurable impact. And would likely see the light of day fairly quickly. This rarely happens in a large experiment like this. It is usually months between an idea and a publication. I need to add, of course, that the idea would never have been possible without a huge amount of work by others!

But it spun out of control. What the heck happened? Terry did. One of our co-spokespeople. I was presenting the work. It was nice. It was neat. It was linear. And he said “Hey — you’ve obviously not optimized your b-parameter!” It took him all of 10 seconds to say that. And he was right, of course. I’d not optimized it. And everyone else in the meeting jumped on it: “you have to get everything you can out of this! You have one chance! Do it now.”

Oh. And have it finished by tomorrow. Heh Heh.

It is Saturday now. I’m not done. Optimizing that b-parameter… well, turns out it is harder than I or anyone else thought. I’d originally not done it on my own because I was operating under such a tight deadline. Our biggest problem is that we can over-optimize b. And testing for over optimization takes about 12 hours. And lots of computer baby-sitting. So.

So. I’ve been inventing slides for a presentation with Terry’s face on them and a big target. And perhaps along with a toilet and my time going down the bowl. 🙂

But don’t get me wrong. I am complaining. But not that much. There is a reason the pressure is so high: this is pretty exciting stuff. There is no way I could have pulled two all-nighters in the last two days without that excitement. And I’ll tell you about this b-parameter once we release these results (or this little tiny add-on dies a grizzly death).

Peace. May the gluon be with you. (sorry. very sleep deprived).



1. Helge - November 26, 2006

So admit it, you either discovered the Higgs, or some superpartner? So which one? 😛

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