- Resonaances has an excellent posting about the latest WMAP9 CMB measurements, and the value Neff for the number of implied light degrees of freedom. When the WMAP numbers were released late last year, they quoted
Neff=3.89+/-.67, 3.26+/-.35, 2.83+/-.38
for the results of fits to their data and others (see section 4.3.2). Jester described this as “like finding a lump of coal under the Christmas tree”: the value Neff=3 implies no new light degrees of freedom beyond the known 3 light neutrinos. A rumor soon appeared on his blog that this result was in error and would be corrected.
The corrected version is now out, with new results
Neff=3.89+/-.67, 3.84+/-.40, 3.55+/-.49
and a note about the correction: “slight correction to Neff for case with BAO.”
which seems reasonable if you regard the difference between finding no unknown degrees of freedom and discovering a new unknown one as “slight”.
- Martin Perl has an interesting blog entry entitled What Me Worry About The Future of High Energy Physics? He describes his views about the problems facing HEP, what he thinks of the Fundamental Physics Prize, and some comments on the history of physics (as well as some kind words about this blog).
- On the Beauty front, you can watch a video of Enrico Bombieri’s lecture at the IAS on Beauty in Mathematics. On February 15 in Boston the big AAAS annual meeting will include a session on Is Beauty Truth? Mathematics in Physics from Dirac to the Higgs Boson and Beyond.
- viXra log has a posting about video released by CMS of the session on June 15th where their convincing evidence for the Higgs in gamma-gamma decays was first unveiled to the larger collaboration. It was at this point that most of the 3000 or so physicists in CMS knew for sure they had a Higgs discovery. One can speculate about what the graph of number of people in the world aware of this would look like as a function of time, but I’m sure by June 17th when I first heard about it, it was already much more than 3000, and growing exponentially.
This was about three weeks before the public announcement on July 4. Of course now what we all want to know is what the full 2012 CMS dataset says about gamma-gamma, and whether it agrees with the SM or not. The general assumption is that this will be made public at the March 2-9 conference in Moriond. So, based on the timetable last time, one can guess that within the next week or two such results will be disclosed to the full CMS collaboration.
- As every year, one can follow the latest trend in US particle theory hiring at the tenure track level here. Lubos Motl describes the current situation as one of hep-th being subjected to terrorism, I guess by hep-ph.
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