I am just back from an exciting week in Boston. If you read my last post you would know that the Double Chooz far detector has been filled, and is streaming real data. Last week we held an analysis meeting at MIT to begin organizing analysis tasks. This meeting was primarily attended by graduate students and post-docs, and there was an emphasis on helping students get familiar with the tools necessary for accessing and studying the data.
One important reason to get start looking at the data is check that the detector is behaving as we expect. We have seen a few cases in which this was not true, but so far the problems have been minor.
Since this was the first time I was being exposed to the Double Chooz data and software, I learned a lot. I began by trying to identify muons from cosmic rays in our data. Muons are like heavy electrons, and are produced in the upper atmosphere when high energy protons collide with the nuclei in our atmosphere. Since the muons are relatively long lived they can survive the descent and pass through our detector. For reasons I wont dwell on, identifying these in our data are important because they can lead to other backgrounds which we must understand for the experiment to be successful. I was able to identify muon events in the data, and was able to confirm that the rate of these events was what we expected.
There is still so much work to be done, and so much to be learned, but excitement is in the air for our collaboration.
My next post will include an update on LBNE. We have a collaboration meeting at UCLA in a couple of weeks, and we should hear about some pretty major decisions. Cheers.