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200 Run 2 Papers from DZERO July 29, 2010

Posted by gordonwatts in Uncategorized.

Well, almost. We are at 185 published papers, 4 more accepted, and 7 more submitted. 19 of them have been cited more than 50 times, 5 more than 100, and 2 more than 250. So that makes 196 – so really close.

And this is just Run 2. Another 132 papers were published from Run 1 data. And none of this counts all the preliminary results we’ve put out between the papers, which often require almost as much work.

And the D0 collaboration is about to have its annual workshop – here in Marseille – so it seems like a fitting time to congratulate everyone on this milestone. It is fitting that this comes after a very successful ICHEP conference for the Tevatron experiments and D0.

So, what are those papers cited more than 250 times? One is the DZERO detector upgrade paper. Anytime someone writes about the DZERO detector (including DZERO) they reference this paper. The other one is the Direct limits on the Bs Oscillation Frequency. This paper caused some controversy when it came out as DZERO took a shortcut to beat CDF with this result (indeed, the DZERO detector and DAQ won’t allow it to make as good a measurement at CDF’s). It is good to see a paper like that getting so many citations!

There are of course several I have very fond memories of – like the Observation of Single Top – especially the almost two weeks of sleepless nights caused by Terry Wyatt’s rather innocuous statement during one of the final approval meetings “yeah, you should be able to improve that in an hour or two”.

DZERO has published so many papers that it got me into trouble. When I was up for tenure one thing the College Council required was a complete copy of all the papers I was an author on (the college council is the last group outside the department that reviews your tenure case carefully at UW). This means I had to download the PDF of every single paper from the APS and other journal sites. I then put them together into a giant PDF file. It was more than 2000 pages. I couldn’t print out the required two copies because I was in Europe in the time. So I emailed the PDF file to the department chair’s assistant with the simple text “please print out two copies for my tenure case” and promptly shut off the computer and poured my self a Pastis. Or three. Stitching together 2000 pages of PDF is a lot of work – I deserved it! Turns out that was the easy part.

A few hours later I was ready to crash and I thought I’d check my email to make sure everything was ok. Good news: the 2000+ PDF file didn’t bounce. Bad news was the string of increasingly frantic emails from first the administrative assistant and then from the department chair. They started with “Thanks! Printing now on my desktop printer!” That was a bad sign: that desktop printer is one of those small slow printers that prints out single sided and one sheet at a time – designed to print out one or two page letters so they can be signed and mailed. A few hours (!!) later “I’m at page 200 and it has already jammed a twice. How long is this?” and “I just checked the PDF, this is 2000 pages! You’re crazy!” and then the first email from the department chair that simply said “You might be buying us a new printer” and then “Scratch that, get me a new administrative assistant, I think she is about to quit” and finally to “ok, all done. But you had better send her (and me) a big box of chocolates and flowers.” As you might imagine my heart was beating faster and faster as I read these messages. I collapsed and slept.

It wasn’t over. The next morning there is an email broadcast to the department saying “We are aware that APS has shut off access to all of their journals for everyone at the University of Washington. This is not part of a journal budget cut; we will send more information as soon as we have it.” And then about 30 minutes later another email had been sent “The shut off was due to someone downloading a huge number of papers from UW and, it appears, from inside this department.” Great. I caused the APS to shut off the whole university. I had to get on the phone to someone at APS to explain myself before they would turn access back on.

I should point out that while DZERO got me into trouble there, I should also say that without the amazing success of the experiment I never would have gotten tenure. I’ve been hugely lucky to work with a lot of truly excellent physicists, first from Dave and Rich at Brown who were willing to take a chance on a fresh graduate student from CDF to Henry at UW. And over the course of these 200 papers I’ve been lucky enough to two work with 3 students – Andy, Thomas, and John, and Aran as a postdoc. It is with some pride that I note they are now all either doing better than I am or obviously on their way to doing better than I have.

On a more somber note, I asked Stefan, one of the co-spokes people, to send me a copy of the plaque down in the control room. As far as DZERO’s ability to mark passing time, there are 18 people that have helped this experiment and didn’t live to see the 200’th paper. I’m not going to list all 18 (though I’d be happy to post the plaque if people request it), but I’d like to mention several that I knew myself – Dan Owen (who can forget?!) who worked on the calorimeters and trigger, Andzrej Zieminski who knew my father and did a lot for our b-physics program, Rich Smith who worked so hard on our solenoid (and perhaps the recent dimuon asymmetry paper is in part thanks to!), and Harry Melanson who did a great deal of software and operations work.

I don’t think most of us are here – now or anytime in the past – because this was “just a job.” No one is paid enough to deal with the DZERO software framework – though I should note the LHC ones make ours look like a dream. We are here and contributed to whatever number of those 200 papers because we believe the world must understand the fundamental laws that govern it, because we like solving very difficult problems, we like playing with cool toys (like the DZERO detector), and because we like working with each other. And, on a personal note, it is good to know that I can still break the DAQ system (yes, that 10 GB log file that is forcing resets at 1:30 am and 7:30 am is my fault).

I bet that If you add the Run 1 papers and the Run 2 papers together we will break 400 before we are done!


1. Jeremy - July 31, 2010

Hah, I remember you telling me the story of having to stitch together the 2000 pages, but I didn’t know the part about the e-mails! You’d think they’d have run into this problem before, though!

2. muge karagoz - August 2, 2010

🙂 I did a similar printing for my associate professorship “degree” from Turkey, but I do not think I was even close to your numbers, Gordon!
Congrats to DZERO (and CDF) for many great publications!

3. Short Items « Not Even Wrong - August 4, 2010

[…] from Gordon Watts, a wonderful tale of the tenure […]

4. Sarah Johnson - August 4, 2010

Try working on 3 different experiments in less than a five year window. I’m very glad I never had to print them all out. Ugh.

5. Eric Baird - August 5, 2010

So they didn’t think of printing them out with the “n pages per sheet” options set on both the OS print dialog box and on the printer driver dialog, so that they’d end up with 256 pages per sheet?

On a laser printer, that keeps the headings just about legible. The body text isn’t (obviously), but if they didn’t specify that the two required printed copies had to be //readable// …

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