The doctor is in
| Matt Strassler held office hours as the first Theorist of the Week in the LHC Physics Center.
Matt Strassler is not your average theorist. He researches both string theory and collider physics, while most theorists focus on either one or the other. He also spent the last five years in experimentalist territory, getting to know the detectors at the LHC.
That's why Strassler agreed to serve as the first Theorist of the Week for the new visiting theorist program at Fermilab's LHC Physics Center.
"Theorists don't usually learn how to speak an experimentalist's language," said Strassler, a quantum field theorist at Rutgers University. "I can see which theories might sneak through the gaps."
As Theorist of the Week, he spent the week in the LPC, gave seminars and held office hours in a visiting theorist booth, complete with a sign reading, "The doctor is in."
"We put the visiting theorists out in the open because we want to encourage experimentalists, especially students, to work with them," said Ben Kilminster, a Fermilab scientist who organizes the visiting theorist program. "We want to make the LPC a central resource for high-energy physics."
Kilminster hopes to have a Theorist of the Week once a month. He plans to select topics that interest both experimentalists and theorists, such as Strassler's research on the hidden valley scenario.
In this theory, new particles and forces exist in a hidden sector and can be accessed at the Tevatron and LHC. The experimental signatures that these particles and forces leave behind can be very unusual and challenging though. The experiments are not designed to find them. Strassler believes that in some cases modifying the experiment's trigger software can help remedy the situation.
"The trigger has to throw away all but the interesting events," Strassler said. "You need to make sure that the important physics doesn't get lost though."
-- Elizabeth Clements