Intellectual cross pollination

Today’s result is a prime example of the fertile intellectual collaboration between the Tevatron and LHC research programs. Scientists working at both laboratories ensure that the best Tevatron experience is transported to the CMS research program.

The press sometimes likes to make a big deal about the competition between the LHC and the Tevatron. It makes for a great narrative and there is even a modicum of truth to it. However, this simplified story misses a very important point and that is, while the laboratories are two distinct entities, the people are not. For instance, I am a member of both the Tevatron DZero and the LHC CMS collaborations and I’m not unusual.

Today’s result describes a study in which photons are produced at the same time as either a W or Z boson. These types of events are interesting because they are sensitive to trilinear gauge boson couplings (TGCs). This particular type of physics is certainly a mouthful, but in essence, it describes how the photon, W and Z bosons, interact with each other. The Standard Model makes very specific predictions on these kinds of interactions and if more of these types of events were observed than expected, this would be a clear signature of a discovery. CMS’ measurement was consistent with Standard Model predictions and extended earlier restrictions on theories predicting new physics.

Avid readers of the Tevatron Result of the Week will perhaps remember seeing several articles (for instance here, here, here and here) describing similar DZero measurements. Professor Yurii Maravin was a leader on these DZero measurements and is now bringing his expertise to CMS. This sort of intellectual cross pollination is a contributing reason to why the LHC experiments have enjoyed the success that they have. There is a danger that comes with having the same people on both experiments, which is the possibility of having blinders, of using only the same techniques and thereby missing something big. However, while some of the physicists have worked on collider experiments at both laboratories, many have not. This combination of experience and fresh eyes ensures that physicists will be able to both creatively and efficiently exploit the CMS data goldmine.

— Don Lincoln

These physicists contributed to this analysis.
These U.S. physicists, in collaboration with their foreign colleagues, are adapting an algorithm called particle flow to be used to do a better job identifying photons. This effort may yield substantial improvements compared to existing photon identification methods.