April 24, 2022


Planes, Trains, and Car Talk

Renee and I headed home today after visiting Jonathan over the weekend.
Responsive image

Another great find in Harvard Square, this wonderfully understated plaque honoring Tom Magliozzi, "Clack," of the Tappet brothers and Car Talk fame. Renee and I used to love listening to their show on long drives to and from Florida. Tom was born in East Cambridge and both are MIT alums. Unique and hilarious.

tags: cambridgeharvardsquarecartalk

photo published in /2022/04/24

Renee and I are playing planes, trains, and automobiles today as we head home. Actually, it's train (T, red line), bus (T, silver line), plane (BOS->DTW), car (DTW->home).

tags: travel

post published in /2022/04/24

High-precision measurement of the W boson mass with the CDF II detector - PubMed (nih.gov)

"A sample of approximately 4 million W boson candidates is used to obtain [a mass W bosun], the precision of which exceeds that of all previous measurements combined....This measurement is in significant tension with the standard model expectation."

Down goes Frazier?

I love science, both the knowledge and the process of science. This paper, published with nearly 400 authors and in Science, likely the world's most respected peer-reviewed scientific journal, presents surprising results on the mass of W bosuns that lie way outside the value predicted by the standard model of physics. As such, it puts that model—which has guided physics research and understanding for decades—on the ropes.

But, the process of science won't let anyone jump to conclusions, not even four hundred authors writing in this journal. Nope, in a way, this paper really just kicks the process into the next gear. Testing and the oh-so-important work to verify the results come next. And, with this sort of work, that will take years.

So, is Frazier down?

Maybe, but in science and boxing, that doesn't mean the fight is over. This paper probably represents an early knockdown of the standard model (it's not the first). It took six for Foreman to be declared the winner over Frazier. So, now we wait. In the meantime, enjoy knowing that a revolution in our understanding of physics may be underway.

That doesn't mean the parlor games can't start now, though. And surely they have. Has Frazier fallen? We'll know someday, because...science.

tags: scienceresearchphysics

link published in /2022/04/24