• John
  • Felde
  • University of Maryland
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • USLHC
  • USLHC
  • USA

  • James
  • Doherty
  • Open University
  • United Kingdom

Latest Posts

  • Andrea
  • Signori
  • Nikhef
  • Netherlands

Latest Posts

  • CERN
  • Geneva
  • Switzerland

Latest Posts

  • Aidan
  • Randle-Conde
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Belgium

Latest Posts

  • TRIUMF
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Canada

Latest Posts

  • Laura
  • Gladstone
  • MIT
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Steven
  • Goldfarb
  • University of Michigan

Latest Posts

  • Fermilab
  • Batavia, IL
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Seth
  • Zenz
  • Imperial College London
  • UK

Latest Posts

  • Nhan
  • Tran
  • Fermilab
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Alex
  • Millar
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australia

Latest Posts

  • Ken
  • Bloom
  • USLHC
  • USA

Latest Posts

Seth Zenz | Imperial College London | UK

View Blog | Read Bio

Turning to the Dark Side

“So, you’ve turned to the dark side?” I’ve heard it surprisingly often, usually from my new colleagues on CMS. “Yes,” I reply. “My hate makes me powerful.”

We’re just kidding, of course.

I’ve been asked more seriously, on a number of occasions, why I switched from working with ATLAS to working with CMS. There are several ways I can answer that one:

1. Why not? ATLAS and CMS both look for the same exciting things at the LHC: the Higgs boson, supersymmetry, and all sorts of other new physics. They have roughly similar capabilities and, for the most part, conceptually similar designs. So I should be happy to work on either one.

2. It came with the job. Being happy to work on either experiment means I applied to some groups working on ATLAS and some on CMS. The job I ended up with is with Princeton, and they have a CMS group, so…

3. It’s good for our field to exchange techniques and expertise between experiments.

4. It’s good for me to know people from both collaborations and learn different ways of doing things, and good to be forced into doing something completely different than what I did as a graduate student.

So why would switching be a bad idea? Well, mostly, it’s harder. There is more logistics to deal with to get started as a postdoc — on top of the logistics of starting a job — and a lot of time spent learning new software and new organization. And it will take me quite a bit longer to be in a position where I know enough and people have enough confidence in my work to give me significant responsibilities. But all of this, I hope, is transitory.

In the end, neither experiment is the dark side. They do compete with each other — as intended, to keep everyone working hard — but they’re more like opposing sports teams than opposite sides of the Force. You may despise the team across town much of the time, but without them you couldn’t play baseball. And once in a while, players get traded.

Share

Tags: , , , ,