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### Back in the USA

I am back after a week’s trip to CERN. It was a productive week. I gave a talk on the work I have been doing and received valuable feedback in the sense that some of my results were met with a bit of skepticism; it took me a day of work to produce more plots, but I think I was able to address these concerns. I also attended the SUSY group meeting to see what people are up to; see Seth’s note (and search for Supersymmetry) or Wikipedia (although I don’t know what they are talking about when they say that “there is indirect evidence for SUSY”). I had a lengthy chat with one of my colleagues on how to understand Missing Energy in events containing energetic top quarks, which, if not understood, can contaminate the signal due to SUSY, thus leading to a false positive; we came up with some ideas on how to study this particular issue. Once I am closer to finishing my current project, I will start to look into this. I had spent part of the summer working with an undergraduate student (through the Research Experience for Undergraduates Program) learning about Missing Energy, so I am prepared.

It was not all work, however! A cousin recently moved from Singapore to Geneva (to work at the World Wildlife Fund), and I spent some time with him and his family; I hadn’t seen them in years. After the weeklong meetings, I took the train from Geneva to Frankfurt, where I spent a couple of days with my sister before flying back to the US. Trains in Europe are not exactly cheap (~ $180 for a one-way ticket), but they are very comfortable and punctual; we left within a minute of the listed time, and after six hours, which included a change of trains in Basel, arrived at the scheduled time (the airline industry could learn a few things from them). Notwithstanding some of the perks of going to Europe, traveling is a pain. You have to deal with lines at security and immigration, layovers and delays at airports, being crammed into steerage (aka Economy), missed connections1, jet lag, lack of sleep, a paucity of vegetarian food, to name a few things; I don’t think I eat as much pizza or French fries as when I am at CERN! From my house in Bloomington, IN to the hostel at CERN takes anywhere from 14 to 20 hours; it is probably longer for people coming from the West Coast. It would be really nice if we had Mr. Scotty to “beam us up”! — Vivek Jain, Indiana University 1 Once on the way back from CERN, my connecting flight from Newark, NJ was cancelled due to weather related problems. It took me another 30 hours to get back to Indiana; this included an overnight stay in a motel in the middle of NJ where the view was a dug up parking lot, waiting unsuccessfully to go on standby, finding a seat on a flight from Kennedy airport and making a mad dash by taxi ($130) only to be delayed by a traffic jam on the Belt Parkway and missing this flight; luckily, I found another flight that left a few hours later.