Monday, September 20, 2010

A stranger in Fysics-land and other summer doings...

Hello everyone!
Well, it's been too long since I have posted and i figured that I would share a little tid bit of one my summer adventures.

Earlier this year, I found that I was accepted to particpate in the 2010 Joint CERN-Fermilab Hadron Collider Physics Summer School at Fermilab (too bad that in other years it's at CERN).
So, of course, I was psyched! Unfortunately, the summer school was tightly shouldered to me taking my last qualifying exam... I left
the day after the exam to head up to Chicago, in fact.
Skipping past the detail of spending an ENTIRE summer studying for one (AHEM) stinky little test (it was the Math Methods/Stat Mech for those who are curious), I was just so relieved to be done with it when it came. Especially since studying for it took all of my time away from research.
The test came and went and then began my very exciting 2+ week adventure in Chicago-area!
The summer school was awesome! They kept us incredibly busy (all 150 of us: grad students and postdocs from around the world) with sessions lasting almost all day where we studied a wide range of topics from SM, beyond the SM, accelerators, new results, SUSY, tracking, particle ID, cosmology, dark matter searches, heavy ions, statistics and QCD. Some of the speakers even gave homework! If you're interested in watching the sessions and/or looking at the various slideshows just click on the 'sessions' link. I particularly recommend the SM and Beyond the SM sessions.
Many of the speakers were top notch and it was such fun to mingle with an incredibly diverse group in a place that made me feel smarter just by being there. The facility is very pretty and that area of the country is pretty lush (albeit flat) plus Chicago is only an hour train ride.

Since the summer school was going to take a lot of time and wouldn't allow for many visits to Chicago, I decided to stay a couple of days longer while staying with fellow former-BYU physics student Chris V.'s family. With the newfound friends and real public transportation systems at my disposal I took multiple tours of Chicago. Yet even after four trips to the Windy City I still could not see everything I wanted too! Nonetheless, it was a beautiful and fairly clean city. I even got a little adventure of having a car towed followed by a crazy cab ride with a driver who barley spoke English and used the middle finger to say hello to the other drivers!

While I was in this metropolis, I was able to visit places such as: Navy Pier, the Sear's Tower, the first Uno's pizzeria, the museum of science and industry and many, many other fun places. The food was great: Chicago-style pizzas, Chicagoan dawgs and Italian beef sandwiches are truly a must and NO ONE should go through life without experiencing these tasty Chicago delicacies!

During the trip I also worked VERY hard on developing my Chicagoan accent: "See while I was DERE I got to see lotsa BEARS fanssss and eat lotsss of good food. It'sssss a great city and I DINK all of yous guysss should go for a visssit." :)

A particular thrill was going out on the window(?) of the Sear's tower and being able to look 1450 ft down (ohh, sorry... this is a physics blog so that would be ~442m) at the very unforgiving concrete below. (GULP)

All in all, it was a wonderful half-month in Chicago-area filled with phun fysics at Fermilab and a visit to a beautiful REAL city with a unique American culture. YAY for being in grad school.

Oh and by the way, to answer the question which is burning in your minds.... YES, I did pass my last qualifier.



  1. One thing I failed to mention is the many confused looks I received when I told them that I was studying strings.
    Then I had to explain to them all about string phenomenology and how it's not THAT FAR removed from what some of the High Energy Theory people did.

  2. Jared,

    I'm glad you passed your exam. Well done as I realize how hard/annoying that test is.

    I'm also glad you went to the summer school and enjoyed your picture. :) You should post later about some of the science presented at the school since I am sure it is fascinating! Fermilab would be an awesome place to be.

    Oh yeah, and I forgot how tall you are... I mean, Femrilab I believe is fairly big. :)

  3. Sounds like a good time. Congrats on passing the test. One question: What was in that can of primordial soup? I can't wait to find out.

  4. String phenomenology, SUSY phenomenology, technicolor... to me they are just as well motivated as each other so if the other people give you dirty looks just know hoe deluded they are.

    There isn't a drop of evidence for the other theories and string theory is just as well motivated so if they laugh at you agian, they just deluded in my book.

    Susy people can laugh *after* they've found even their first hint of real evidence to support their own "my theory has generated thousands of papers with no real evidence" theory.

  5. Congrats on passing your quals! I'm jealous!

  6. "my theory has generated thousands of papers with no real evidence"

    Studying the sun we have the opposite problem. As several eminent solar physicists have said "we have enough data on the sun to conclusively rule out all proposed theories for the solar dynamo".


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