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A communication resource from the world's particle physics laboratories

Interactions News Wire #21-09
2 April 2009
Source: InterAction Collaboration
Content: Press Release
Date Issued: 2 April 2009

Particle physicists chronicle their lives on the new Quantum Diaries web site

(April 2, 2009) -- Members of the InterAction Collaboration for particle physics communication today (April 2) announced the launch of the new Quantum Diaries, a web site that follows physicists from around the world as they experience life at the energy, intensity and cosmic frontiers of particle physics. Through their blogs, with stories, videos, photos and biographies, the diarists offer a personal look at the daily lives of particle physicists.

The original Quantum Diaries chronicled the lives of particle physicists as they experienced the World Year of Physics, 2005. Over the course of a year, thousands of readers followed the highs and lows for some 25 particle physicists--discoveries, new jobs, new babies, funding cuts, loss of old friends and public attacks on science.

Today Quantum Diaries returns with a new set of diarists who represent a vibrant cross-section of working physicists. Writing in multiple languages, scientists and students from universities and laboratories in North America, Asia and Europe have volunteered to blog about their latest research findings and challenges that face them in their labs, as well as their families, hobbies, and interests at home. Every few months, new diarists will join the site to share even more stories about life in the laboratory and beyond.

In a March 28 posting to Quantum Diaries, for example, Zoe Louise Matthews, a British graduate student, described the driving force behind her research at CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics research in Geneva, Switzerland.

"In all our differences, we have in common those days where an unresolved problem is like a thirst, and we put the rest of our lives on hold until we can quench it," Matthews wrote. "We share the need for answers, the need to understand."

In the United States, Fermilab physicist Rob Kutschke will provide ongoing updates about a proposal for a new experiment. "Our quest is to look for a very rare decay of an elementary particle named a muon," he wrote on March 31. "Why are we doing this? It's the quantum mechanical equivalent of taking the short-cut through the woods to Grandma's house."

From the opposite side of the globe, writing in English and Japanese, physicist Junpei Fujimoto traced the origins of modern physics.

"Physics consists of two steps: quantify the phenomena and book numbers and analyse the structure behind the numbers," he wrote on March 30. "In the sixteenth century, Tycho Brahe accumulated data on the movement of Mars for 16 years. With this data, Johannes Kepler got 'Three Laws of Planetary Motion.' Kepler's insight from the data to the laws was marvelous, which led to Isaac Newton's theory of gravity."

The Quantum Diaries web site was developed and is jointly maintained by the InterAction collaboration, whose members represent the world's particle physics laboratories in Europe, North America and Asia, with funding provided by the science funding agencies of many nations.

Media contact:

Elizabeth Clements, InterAction Collaboration, +1-630-840-2326, lizzie@fnal.gov

For editors:

For more information on Quantum Diaries: http://www.quantumdiaries.org

For more information on the InterAction Collaboration: http://www.interactions.org