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Quarks, BJ, and me February 21, 2007

Posted by dorigo in humor, personal, physics, science, social life, travel.

The Nobel prize winner James Bjorken is pictured in this rare archive photograph with the famous physicist Tommaso Dorigo, co-discoverer of the heaviest quark:

The date of the picture is unknown, but it looks like BJ is considering Tommaso’s ideas about assigning partons a variable fraction of the proton momentum through a continuous variable x.

Jokes aside, this was taken in 1996 at a SLAC summer school in Stanford, CA. We were really discussing quarks, in truth: the six-jet decay mode of the top pairs recently discovered at the Tevatron – my paper on that signature had not been published yet.

I stumbled in this picture, which I long thought lost, while putting some order in my messy hard drive… 



1. Kea - February 21, 2007

Great photo to add to the family album!

2. Sean Carroll - February 21, 2007

Except that, unfortunately, BJ has never won the Nobel Prize. Could have, though.

3. dorigo - February 21, 2007

Wow, you are right Sean! I remember I even discussed the matter with a colleague once. Funny how your mind can play you these kinds of tricks. I was convinced he had won the prize, then a colleague showed me I was wrong, and now… I got it wrong again!

I will leave it up there as is though… To me, James is a true winner.


4. dorigo - February 21, 2007

Hi Kea,

indeed I like the pic a lot… I think it tells a story, as the best pictures do.


5. Bee - February 22, 2007

I heard a seminar by BJ last year at KITP. It was a good seminar, though the content was a bit weird. Something about maybe not-so-coincidental relations between parameters in the SM taken seriously. I think there’s a paper on the arxiv about it, … might be hep-ph/0103349. I’ve learned qft from Bjorken-Drell, its quite a historical landmark for me 🙂

Anyway, I actually meant to comment something different. I picked up the March SciAm yesterday, and you’re mentioned in a brief article ‘Alone at the Top’:

“CDF member Tommaso Dorigo of the University of Padua argues that if the Higgs particle mass is around 114 GeV, the LHC will have a harder time fining a light Higgs particle than the Tevatron will.”

I’m always delighted to see names printed of people I know 🙂

6. dorigo - February 22, 2007

Hi Bee,

thank you for pointing that out… It appears that scientific reporters have learned the lesson that it is much easier to obtain information from bloggers than from the experiments directly. Indeed, I have been contacted by quite a few of them recently – my only merit being that if you search for “Higgs boson mass” or things like that, my blog appears easily in the first page of the google list.


7. dorigo - February 22, 2007

… And did they write that ? Ouch!

These guys have a innate penchant for sensationalism… What I did say was that the Tevatron would prefer the Higgs to be light to have a better -albeight still small- chance at finding it, and that the LHC experiments prefer it to be a bit heavier to have an easier job…


8. island - February 22, 2007

I heard a seminar by BJ last year at KITP. It was a good seminar, though the content was a bit weird. Something about maybe not-so-coincidental relations between parameters in the SM taken seriously.

Those quacks… 😉

[…the fact that the logarithmic factors, log M2/µ2, associated with gauge and Higgs cou-plings only appear as a multiplier of the entire standard-model Lagrangian density…]

9. apetrov - February 22, 2007

Hmm… so we did go to the same SLAC summer school in 1996…

10. Fred - February 22, 2007

Nice shot. Undoubtedly, pulled from an old shoebox of declassified files circa the 60’s Cold War days. I like the spot-lit bar scene unintentionally captured in the background. James seems to sport a classic sailor’s tan to compliment your Roman senator’s haircut. Black and white photos still rule in instances such as this.

11. dorigo - February 22, 2007

I agree Fred, it is a well-composed picture.


12. dorigo - February 22, 2007

Hi Alexey,

Aha! I did not remember that either. By the way, do you remember Jennifer ? I lost track of her…


13. apetrov - February 23, 2007

HI Tommaso,

So it’s established!
As for Jennifer Chan… no, I’m afraid I don’t even remember her well — I only saw (her friend?) Lilian de Porcel a couple of times some years later when I visited SLAC. But I think she doesn’t fork for SLAC any more either…



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