That’s my plot, damnit! April 24, 2007Posted by dorigo in Art, personal, physics.
This isn’t about intellectual property… It is about bragging about my outstanding graphical skills.
In 1999 I gave a talk at the Moriond QCD conference, on “W mass measurements at the Tevatron”. In the process of putting together the slides, I found out I needed a cartoon of how we detect W and Z bosons in their leptonic decays to electrons, muons, and neutrinos. And I could not find anything nearly as good as I wanted it, up for grabs in other people’s past talks on the matter.
So I set out to draw something of my liking. For the W decay to an electron-neutrino pair I came up with the following graph:
So you see, I got what I wanted. Immediateness, simplicity, and cool colors, while maintaining physical accuracy. It took me an afternoon of fiddling with the xfig program. I am really proud of the result.
What you see is a cut-away view of the detector, schematized as a black circle, orthogonally to the beam line. The electron produced by a W decay, in red, produces a track pointing at a shower-like energy deposit in the electromagnetic calorimeter. The neutrino, on the other side, is depicted as a dashed blue line: not seen in the tracking volume (inside the black circle) nor outside. The label next to it, the slashed Et sign, indicates that the neutrino did produce a measurable effect – an imbalance in the transverse energy flow. In green, I showed the soft QCD radiation off the initial state of W production, which manifests itself as a broad, low energy deposit in the calorimeter. Also shown are other low-energy tracks produced by the collision (black lines radiating from the center), and I indicated with another arrow the original transverse momentum of the W boson.
Now, things like this usually get “borrowed” by other talks. Quite normal, nothing to complain about. But if they become so standardized that you see them in more than a third of all public talks on W boson physics at the Tevatron, as is the case with the cartoon above, then you start to itch… Today I saw it used in a Wine-and-cheese talk on W width by Dave Waters, at Fermilab. I am glad he used it but…
Darn, I should have put my name in the lower left of the picture! After all, it is an artistic work…