CDF publishes 700 papers

David Toback

The year 2017 is full of important Fermilab milestones. Fermilab’s 50th anniversary. The 25th anniversary of the lab’s first website. The 40th anniversary of the discovery of the bottom quark.

The Collider Detector at Fermilab, CDF, recently celebrated an important milestone — perhaps not as lofty or storied as the above anniversaries, but a proud moment nonetheless: On May 30, our 700th paper was officially published in Phys. Rev. D. The publication, which focuses on the production of D meson in the unique Tevatron environment, was led by an Italian student working with both American and Italian collaborators. It was a fitting way to ring in this milestone and encouraged us to reflect on the past 37 years of the collaboration.

CDF was created as a United States-Italy-Japan collaboration. Today the pursuit of particle physics is unthinkable without global cooperation, but in 1980, when CDF started as a three-country endeavor, it was the primary vision of director Robert Wilson for the lab to go worldwide. CDF has included scientists from more than a dozen countries over the years, and would include more than 600 physicists at its peak.

A storied history. With 700 publications, it is hard to choose only a few among so many highlights. Perhaps it is obvious to start with the 1995 co-discovery of the top quark. More than 20 years later, some CDF measurements, such as the measurement of the top mass, remain among the most sensitive in the world. Another important paper detailed the discovery of the quick-change behavior of the Bs meson, which switches between matter and antimatter 3 trillion times a second and was the first observation of CP violation in the b quark system. CDF’s measurement of the mass of the W boson is still the most precise on record. Perhaps equally important is that the production of these papers helped almost 640 individuals gain their Ph.D. using CDF data.

A curious set of characters and stories. While most people know that current Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer is a former CDF spokesperson, the current spokespersons have fun stories as well. A fun fact about CDF today is that its longevity has produced the remarkable occurrence that both spokespersons were Ph.D. students on the experiment. Giorgio Chiarelli, INFN-Pisa, was the second student to receive his Ph.D., and yours truly was the 159th. Equally amusing is that Chiarelli’s advisor, Giorgio Bellettini (who has been on CDF since the very beginning), was a two-time co-spokesperson himself and just handed off the baton to his student on June 1.

Looking forward: With 37 years in the books, the road ahead is clearly shorter than the one in the past. However, even as the Large Hadron Collider goes strong, data collected from Tevatron collisions continues to add to the book on particle physics, and the experiment is still producing results. CDF looks forward to many important and competitive legacy measurements, including those of the top mass, the W mass, sin2θ­W, and the forward-backward asymmetry of top quark pairs. We retain our emphasis on getting the papers out.

Congratulations CDF, and to members past and present, on your 700th paper and the many accomplishments you’ve logged along the way!

Scientist David Toback, professor at Texas A&M University and the Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy, is co-spokesperson of the CDF experiment.

CDF collaboration. Photo: Cindy Arnold