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Ken Bloom | USLHC | USA

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ICHEP: what to watch for

At long last, the 35th International Conference on High Energy Physics begins tomorrow. It’s the largest particle-physics conference of the year, and the first major conference since the start of LHC operations at 7 TeV, If the US LHC blog has seemed to be a bit quiet lately, it might be because so many bloggers have been working hard to get results ready. Now, it’s highly unlikely that there will be any surprising LHC discoveries announced there; we just don’t have nearly enough data yet. But that doesn’t mean that this conference will be boring! Here are a few things that you might want to be watching for:

  • How well are the experiments keeping up with the LHC? The LHC has now delivered about 350 nb-1 of integrated luminosity to the experiments. What fraction of that data will the experiments show? This is a measure of the operational efficiency of the experiments, and of their ability to get the data through reconstruction and analysis. If the experiments are able to show a large fraction of the delivered data, then we can be optimistic about how quickly results will come out as the collision rates rise.
  • How competitive is the LHC with the Tevatron? The Tevatron experiments have collected a huge amount of data over the past nine years, and have an excellent understanding of how their detectors work. They will still be in the lead on many, many physics topics. (Disclaimer: I also work on one of the Tevatron experiments.) However, because of the LHC’s higher collision energy, there might be a few measurements for which the LHC can produce stronger results, even with a tiny amount of data. Will there be any such results, and what will they be?
  • How competitive is the Tevatron with the LHC? Everyone is eager to hear the latest limits on the standard-model Higgs boson from the Tevatron. The excluded Higgs masses are the ones that would have been the easiest for the LHC to see too. How much harder will new Higgs limits make it to find a Higgs at the LHC?
  • Any surprises from elsewhere? Let’s not forget that this conference covers all of particle physics, and there’s a lot more going on out there than just the LHC!
  • How tired do the presenters look? A lot of that 350 nb-1 came at the last minute — did everyone stay up all night to finish their data analysis?

I won’t be attending the conference, but I’ll try to provide some commentary from lovely Lincoln as events unfold. Good luck to all involved — this is going to be a lot of fun!

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