Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Dissipation and Ruin

It's the annual Department Christmas lunch today, from 12 noon 'til 2pm.  Based on previous experience, I blocked out the afternoon in my calendar with an event entitled "Dissipation and ruin."  However, I have since changed that to "Finish writing the Physics Annual Programme Review," which is probably a more sensible course of action.  We'll see.  There's always tomorrow...

Friday, 16 December 2011

The demise of co-operation

I received an email from a friend and scientific collaborator of mine who works at the University of Frankfurt.  By chance, he happens to live in the town, Friedberg, near Frankfurt, that was twinned with my home town of Bishop's Stortford.

He wondered if I had heard that Bishop's Stortford had unilaterally decided to break off its town-twinning arrangements with both Friedberg, and Villiers-sur-Marne, near Paris.  I hadn't, and a quick bit of research reveals an article in the graun about it.  According to my friend, it has caused quite a stir.  Not so much that the Conservative council would countenance breaking away per se, but that they would do it unilaterally, sending a letter informing the other towns of the decision, without so much as a farewell party, looking back at the good times.

Frankly, I think it's embarrassing, but I'll carry on working with my colleague.  Next time I visit him, perhaps I can take a trip to Friedberg and send some personal greetings from Bishop's Stortford.  There's only so much I can personally do to help our continental neighbours think well of us...

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

News of the Higgs

There will be a seminar in a few hours hosted at CERN to give the latest results in the search for the Higgs boson.  I'm sure it will be interesting, but I'll be at my daughter's first ever Christmas play, which I'm sure I'll enjoy even more.

I'll take a look at the announcement afterwards, and try to write a sensible post about it (and why the Higgs is important to our understanding of nature), but to pre-empt anything too exciting being announced, the following text appears on the CERN home page as I write:

A seminar will be held today at CERN at which the ATLAS and CMS experiments will present the status of their searches for the Standard Model Higgs boson. These results will be based on the analysis of considerably more data than those presented at the summer conferences, sufficient to make significant progress in the search for the Higgs boson, but not enough to make any conclusive statement on the existence or non-existence of the Higgs.