Friday, December 21, 2012

First In-House Symposium at Physics Department, TU

It was a great day for Physics department of Tezpur University. On the last day of Mayan calender, we organized our first ever in-house symposium. The aim of this symposium was to get familiarize with the works being done in the department by various groups, both experimental as well as theoretical. Since, it was a one day program, we had to stick to just one talk from one group (either by a faculty member or by a research scholar). The program was  co-funded by Intellectual Property Rights cell at TU and the inaugural speech was delivered on IPR by an invited speaker. Rest of the day was all about four different sessions (3-4 talks each) followed by poster session by all the research scholars. The event was pretty smooth and we all had a great day for sure. I got reminded of SYMPHY, the in-house symposium we used to organize at IIT Bombay every year. One generic issue which I observed in SYMPHY as well as in today's event is that people get too technical in their talks showing too many plots, technical details and all. That's encouraging for those who are familiar with that particular field, but could yawning for others. May be we should come up with a guideline from next time requesting the speakers to give an overview of the field highlighting the basics as well as theoretical/practical importance so that swallowing it becomes easier for all. Otherwise only few people in the audience will be listening. Good thing about our initiative is that the administration has decided to make such in-house symposium mandatory in all TU departments. Such a practice is very common in well established institutes like IIT Bombay, its really good that a relatively younger department is following those footsteps. Hope this continues every year in future and bring in more collaboration and ideas.

Another Milestone for the SM!

The standard model (SM) of particle physics has crossed another milestone as reported by LHCb collaboration at the recent hadron collider physics symposium held in Kyoto. They have done an incredible measurement of B meson decaying into muon anti-muon pairs. However, people started using this SM milestone as a bullet in SUSY's chest. BBC reported LHCb UK spokesperson saying, "SUSY might not be dead yet, but these results have certainly put her into hospital". And this statement was enough to spark off a debate in the blogosphere followed by couple of arXiv pre-prints. Well, its true that no sign of new physics in this measurement is disappointing, but it amazes me that SUSY has suffered the most whereas there are plenty of other beyond standard model frameworks in the market. I could see three different types of reactions : SUSY is dead or in hospital, SUSY is less natural than thought and SUSY is still alive or in good health. The first reaction is of course a bit harsh and extreme but probably was good for many others who have come up with pre-prints showing available parameter space (natural parameter space probably, I am confused though what to call natural nowadays) which exactly fit these observations. Even if we collect as much data as we want, they will probably never justify the first reaction and at the worst case will leave us with a situation which is a linear combination of the second two reactions.