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Ken Bloom | USLHC | USA

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APS, Day 2

This morning I gave my conference talk, which was about top-quark physics at the LHC. The other speakers in the session were Tim Tait, a theorist who does a lot of work on new physics that involves top, and Vernoica Sorin, who discussed recent results on top from the Tevatron. I enjoyed their talks; the Tevatron has done so much good work on top, and it’s interesting to hear the new theory ideas that were out there. My presentation went fine, thanks, although it would have been even better if we had some LHC data at this point and could actually show some real top-quark measurements. I wonder what the chances are that I could get this gig next year, when there will be more to say. (Probably small.)
I also attended a couple of events related to women in physics. There was an invited session featuring the research work of several women in experimental particle physics (Marjorie Corcoran, Daniela Bortoletto and Deborah Harris), followed by a panel discussion. All of them have faced a variety of challenges in juggling a career in research science with raising a family. I asked them about what sort of family-friendly policies they wished they had at their institutions, and all of them cited paternity leave for new fathers. I was glad to hear this — as a relatively new father myself, I’ve been on the warpath about such things lately. I do think that changes that we make that are good for women in physics will ultimately be good for the men in physics too. All of us in this line of work love doing what we do, but it’s important to find some work-life balance.
The most recent past president of the APS gave an address in the early evening, which I was able to hear a little bit of before meeting some friends from graduate school for dinner. He cited efforts that the Society has made to improve the training of physics teachers.  Public education is a very important part of what the APS does, and educating future educators is a way to leverage resources and have a greater impact on the problem.  These programs have been quite successful so far.  As it happens, one of the friends I had dinner with now works on these programs for APS, so we got to talk a bit about that.

OK, two days down — only two more days of this marathon to go!

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