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The Naming of Sparticles

By Flip Tanedo(2008), with apologies to TS Eliot (`The Naming of Cats')

The naming of sparticles is a difficult thought
It isn't just one of your grad student games
You may think at first I'm mad as a crackpot
When I tell you, a sparticle has three different names.

First of all, there's the name we physicists use daily
Such as stop, selectron, photino (twiddle A)
Such as higgsino, chargino, sdown, or the LSP,
Each of them a sensible physicsy name.

There are fancier names if you think they sound neato,
Some are quite playful, some are quite lame:
Such as CP-odd Higgs, sneutrino, stau, gravitino
But all of them sensible physicsy names.

But I tell you, a field needs a name that's particular
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can it make its gauge representation much clearer
than to write out its indices, dotting the i's

Of the names of this kind, I can give you a lot,
Such as H-up-j, B-nu, or q-LH-i,
Such as g-alpha-sigma, or else twiddle-chi-nought
Names that would make many-an-undergrad cry.

But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
The name that would make even your adviser impressed,
The name that no physics research can discover --
But the sparticle itself knows, and will never confess.

When you detect a field in profound propagation,
There's only one thing to do that's worth mention,
Time-ordered product, two-point correlation;
And compute, and compute, and compute the cross section.

That symmetrically super,
Deep inelastic nonsingular cross section.

The Night Before Higgsmas

By Flip Tanedo, 12 Dec 2011, with apologies to Clement Moore, author of "A Visit from St. Nicholas," aka "[Twas] The Night Before Christmas". First posted on the US LHC blog on the eve of the Dec 2011 joint ATLAS/CMS Higgs seminar.

'Twas the night before Higgsmas, when all through the lab,
not a student was stirring---except some undergrad.
The data were analyzed with lots of great care
in hopes that the Higgs boson soon would be there.

The press corps were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of exclusion plots danced in their heads.
And theorists in the US, Asia, and Europe
dug up the models that they were so sure of.

When out from Geneve there arose such a clatter,
We sprung from our desks to see what was the matter.
Away to the webcast---I must install Flash,
Reloaded the webpage, I hope it didn't crash.

The introduction recapped the latest CERN run,
and gave the impression of more fun to come.
When, what to my wondering eyes should I see,
but a miniature bump... in Higgs to ZZ?

And with all of the press and media bigwigs
I knew in a moment that it must be the Higgs.
From ATLAS and CMS the results were the same,
and we whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

Now Higgs! Now Englert! Now Guralnik and Hagen!
On Kibble! On Brout! On, Goldstone and Anderson!
To Stockholm in December, the Nobel prize,
But a prize that only three could realize.

We wondered about the "look elsewhere effect,"
But somewhere, someone just won their Higgs bet.
Not so fast, of course, it was only three sigma.
That's okay---it could be a 'discovery' by summer.

Not so fine tuned, in fact still quite natural,
in spite of electroweak precision observables,
at least in the supersymmetric Standard Model.
There's room for new physics, we can be hopeful!

The Higgs mass? A hint? A whisper, a whim?
Theory papers will fill arXiv up to its brim.
And with a white Santa-like beard, who is this?
Oh my, straight from CERN-TH---it's really John Ellis!

His eyes---how they twinkled! His dimples---how merry!
He spoke many great things about supersymmetry.
I tried to refrain myself from asking if he knew
That he was still off by a factor of two.

But I really shouldn't write that here on this blog
For soon I'll be applying to be a postdoc.
I digress. The matter we should focus on
is what's next in the search for the Higgs boson.

It is now up to ATLAS and CMS
To combine their data in a way that makes sense.
In maybe a month, maybe early next year,
We will have new significances to hear.

We gave up our breaks and went straight to our work,
Life as a grad student! But it sure has its perks.
What's more exciting than the science frontier?
And by reading this blog, you can also be there!

We sprang to our desks, we downed our espressos,
All in the search for what new physics might show.
And John Ellis exclaimed, to the OPERA bambinos,
"Happy Higgsmas to all, and forget those neutrinos".

Stanford Physics Graduation Speech

Flip Tanedo
Hewlett Teaching Center
18 June 2006

On behalf of the Stanford Physics Department of Physics Undergraduate Class of 2006, welcome and happy Father's Day. I've been asked to introduce and say a few words about our class. I should start by noting how appropriate it is that we are here today [in the Hewlett Teaching Center] since it was in these lecture halls that many of us took our first steps in freshman physics courses.

Since then we've experienced the excitement of being part of the Stanford Physics Department. In our freshman year, scientists at SLAC broke the world record data transfer rate, sending 6.7 gigs over 11 km within a minute. As sophomores, we were here when Gravity Probe B was finally launched, 45 years after its initial inception. Just before our junior year, our favorite Nobel prize winning professor played the role of Feynman in the space shuttle Columbia investigation... which meant that we had to spend the remainder of our junior year hearing about our favorite Nobel prize winning professor playing the role of Feynman in the space shuttle Columbia investigation. Our junior year was also saw the founding of the Center for Probing the Nanoscale. And just this year, we have witnessed the near-completion of one of two new buildings for the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology; you'll pardon the dust.

As students in one of the most active and accomplished physics communities in the world, the past four years we were able to watch these things develop around us firsthand, and all without witnessing a single football win against Cal.

On a smaller timescale, people suggested that I talk about the daily life of an undergraduate physics major. I thought about this for some time, and here's the best that I could do:

Monday: Free donuts in Applied Physics at 4:15
Tuesday: Snacks at Physics Colloquium
Wednesday: Pizza with SPS
Thursday: Bagels at the astrophysics and cosmology seminar
Friday: Graduate student host physics beer at 5

An that's as much detail as I can give you. For a group of people who studied together over the same textbooks over the past four years, we're a remarkably diverse group.

Among us are journalists, squash players, dragon boaters, Stanford volleyball players, artists, musicians of the classical/jazz/funk/LSJUMB variety, jugglers, tutors, RAs, black belts, members of both Phy Psi and EBF, particle and condensed matter physicists, cosmologists and laser physicists, theorists and experimentalists, and many more things that people didn't list on Facebook.

Many of us are double majors. We're clever---we realized that saying we majored in physics wouldn't get us very far in conversations at parties.

At the end of the day, what I believe makes a Stanford University physics major unique is the ability to take part in the research community. 3 weeks ago, 11 of us gave presentations on our honors research. Topics included the Kondo effect, universal extra dimensions, and the decay of the B- particle. The value of this research-based education is priceless, but don't let the alumni association use that as an excuse to finagle extra donations.

Many of us will pursue graduate programs in physics, applied physics, materials science, and applied math across the country and even across the world. And because we couldn't get enough, some of us will be returning to Stanford as graduate students this fall. Some still will leave the ivory tower and enter the real world as consultants, product analysts, engineers, and investors. These are the people the graduate students among us will look to for financial support in the future.

I'd like to leave one final message on behalf of my class, and that is one of gratitude.

First and foremost to our departmental administrators, Elva and Maria. Members among us were Maria's last undergraduates and Elva's first. In fact, some of us wouldn't be here if not for Elva making sure that we finished our requirements this year.

I'd like to thank Pat Burchat and Roger Romani, the department undergraduate chairs during our time here. There are also those among us who wouldn't be here if it weren't for their guidance, support, and---most importantly---signatures.

I'd like to thank Rick Pam, the physics godfather, who could not be with us today because his daughter is graduating from the American Studies department.

And thank you to our professors, for mentoring us and taking us out to adviser-advisee lunches... sometimes.

Thanks to the graduate students, for being role models and also for accepting our periodically late homework.

And thank you to our friends and family---for your support and for understanding us when we had to disappear because of our Physics 108 cool downs.

And I would personally like to say goodbye and thank my fellow students for fond memories, shared fascination, and one hell of a ride.

Thank you.