Beam intensity at the LHC continues to increase with successful collision this morning of beams containing 13 bunches of protons, producing an initial luminosity of about 1.5 x 1029cm-2s-1. This is about a factor of 1000 below the goal for later this year, 2000 below typical luminosities at the Tevatron. The current plan is for proton-proton collisions this year until November 1, then a shift for a while to heavy ions. Integrated luminosity is about 10 nb-1, see a graph here.
Last week this result (also see here) from DZero got a lot of attention in the press, including a front page story in the New York Times. The claim is of observation of a CP-violating effect not predicted by the Standard Model, with a significance of 2-3.2 sigma, depending on exactly what numbers you look at. If I had to bet, I’d bet that this, like lots of other purported violations of the SM over the last 35 years, will ultimately disappear. Unfortunately, it seems that CDF is unlikely to be able to confirm or disconfirm this. For blog postings from people who actually know something about this, see here and here.
My colleague Brian Greene is keeping very busy, with the World Science Festival here in New York next week, and filming a four-part NOVA series based on is book Fabric of the Cosmos.
If I weren’t planning a trip to South America to see another eclipse in July, I’d probably be trying to find an excuse to go to Paris that month, and ICHEP 2010 might do the trick. Now, it seems even physics conferences have blogs.
Herbert Neuberger has a very nice survey here, based on a colloquium talk, of our understanding of non-perturbative QCD.
Frank Quinn has a long essay here which has quite a few interesting things to say about mathematics, mathematics research, mathematics education, and relations to physics. Quinn is a topologist who has interacted with physicists since the late 80s, in the context of topological quantum field theory. I learned about this from a posting at the n-Category Cafe, where some illustrious commenters have an interesting exchange about TQFT.
For a long time now, particle theory has been divided up between phenomenology and string theory, with formal QFT an increasingly marginalized subject. At the same time, more and more mathematicians have been studying QFT long enough to become quite expert at it. In the future it seems conceivable that this will ultimately lead to new discoveries about QFT coming out of math, not physics departments. For an indication of how things are going, take a look at the recent MSRI workshop in honor of Alan Weinstein. Videos of some of the talks are supposed to be available at some point. I’m most looking forward to seeing what Graeme Segal has to say about Geometric aspects of the positivity of energy in quantum field theory, and curious to know what Reshetikhin had to say about Hamiltonian structure of gauge theories (it appears that video of that talk will not be available). Next week Reshetikhin is teaching a master-class on gauge theories in Amsterdam (web-site here), and he taught a course on QFT there last fall
See Resonaances for some news that makes the DZero supposed SM violation look less likely. Some support for the claim came from earlier data showing similar SM violation in another channel, but the latest from CDF is that, with more data, this has gone away.
Latest from the LHC is that on Tuesday morning a peak luminosity of about 2 x 1029cm-2s-1 was reached. Integrated luminosity is now about 16 nb-1.